Solo artists with blues rock as their speciality aren’t usually my keg of beer. Sure, I can appreciate the odd song here and there by newer artists such as Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa and old school dudes like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn – and I simply adore Eric Sardinas – but usually I just let all these artists pass me by if no one throws them at me. Swedish rocker Patrik Jansson – also a drummer in southern rockers Hellsingland Underground and melodic rockers Laney’s Legion – released his second solo album Here We Are back in 2015, this time as a guitarist and singer, and since I really like his other bands I had to check it out. Turned out that Jansson had a really big feel for playing the blues and even though his English comes with a Swedish accent, his voice was really damn fit for this kind of rock and lo and behold, I dug it – a lot. So when the time had come for a follow-up, there was no chance in Hell I’d miss out on that.
The album opens with “Can’t Get You (Out Of My Head)”, a swinging stomper, Chicago blues style where Patrik shares the lead vocals with one Therèse Thomsson, his woman. The song has a very distinct refrain that catches on right on the spot and the duet fits like a glove – Thomsson has a great voice. First single “Life Without You” follows and it’s a rock n’ blues number that gives a nod back to Jeff Healey style wise. As a single choice, it’s quite spot on as it sticks after first listen. It also grooves like crazy and I can imagine digging it in a small, crowded club – awesome! “Keep Taking Your Chances” is a slow blues number, big on feel and I can almost feel the smoke from the small stage running through my nostrils – very fresh and alive. The title track is groove deluxe where the guitars and organ mixes fine, equally as loud in the mix with leads just a notch higher. This is a brilliant hook laden blues rocker that will probably go down great live.
“Those Days Are Gone” is another slow number, laid back and a bit dark, kind of like Gary Moore mating with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jansson really captures the feel of how to perform a blues ballad.”That 70’s Thing” have a title that’s kind of self explanatory – it has the blues as the foundation but it’s also funky and with a horn section that creates another flavor to the mix. It’s an instrumental where the main melody is so colored that you can almost add a vocal melody to it yourself – very good. Another tune where Jeff Healey seems to be the influence is “Hard To Please”, a soft-ish blues rocker with a very distinct chorus that holds a tiny pop feel. Not that it’s radio-friendly or cheesy by any means, it’s just catchy and accessible – and it’s a real killer! “Too Blind To See” comes in a faster pace with a swing and groove – and the piano and harmonica also brings another dimension to the song – another tune made for the clubs. Closing track “Sweet T” (I think I have a pretty good idea what the “T” stands for…) is a slow, emotional blues ballad, an instrumental that still speaks volumes – so awesome!
To sum this up, it’s pretty clear that Jansson really has the blues inside and knows exactly what it takes to write and perform this kind of music. Sweden isn’t exactly the national blues country of the world so it takes your man to do it right – and for the second time in a row, Jansson proves that he is that man. As I wrote, I very rarely get hooked on this kind of blues rock – I mean, I like it as such but it’s not my shot of poison, so to speak. But Jansson and his band mates really hits that spot for me and since Jansson knows how to use hooks and to write a catchy melody over the blues, this really speaks to me. So if blues rock is your thing, do yourself a favor and check this out – highly recommended!
More Patrik Jansson Band reviews:
1. Can´t Get You (Out Of My Head)
2. Life Without You
3. Keep Taking Your Chances
4. So Far To Go
5. Those Days Are Gone
6. That 70´s Thing
7. Hard To Please
8. Too Blind To See
9. Sweet T