Ever wanted to just leave it all behind? Quit university, hop aboard the first flight to the States, find a small group of like-minded ramblers, buy up a battered 1970s Volkswagen Camper and just hit the road? You would go wherever the highways take you, leaving behind nothing but a cloud of dust and a trail of empty beer cans. Handsome Jack’s sound almost defines this wild scenario – and damned if this isn’t the first tape that you’d jam into the thrift-shop stereo as you set off down Route 66.
This thing grooves hard. The boys continuously slap out excess helpings of Classic Blues, Old Time-y Rock ‘n’ Roll, intoxicating Soul and even elements of Country during this nostalgia cocktail. Their influences are truly wide as we seem to hear everything, from callbacks to Muddy Waters on the title track ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ to riffs which rival Clapton.
From the first guitar twang to the last, Handsome Jack keep a great energy balance throughout the record with songs like ‘Baby Be Cool’ and ‘Why Do I Love You The Way I Do’ acting as laid-back counterpoints to some of the harder rollers. They seem to really understand their style, keeping the music short, snappy and to-the-point. It’s noisy too, with the band adding a roughness to all the instruments and vocals which almost emulates the atmosphere of listening live in a Mississippi dive bar just as a fight is breaking out.
Sure, it might be a bit simplistic and yes, you might find this kind of blues a bit repetitive or tired. But hey, it’s refreshing to see a band stripped of pretension; Everything’s Gonna Be Alright allows you to forget about life for a second and kick back with some good ol’ raw rock ‘n’ roll. So, plug in the aux, turn up that volume knob and let that inner redneck rocker out from within.
Image: Rob Kerford via Promo Jukebox