Like most music enthusiasts worth their salt, I will always have a weak spot for Rock when it's at its finest. With that unarguable element of sexiness about it and a kick that reaches right down to your boots, Jaded Sun's music speaks for itself!
Good old fashioned REAL Rock 'n Roll is stamped all over it. You may call it Blues Rock, Hard Rock or whatever you like, but this amazing act satisfies a gap that has been in the Irish Music Industry for quite a while, craving something special to fill it.
Raspy but confident and polished, John Maher's vocals define the oomph that commands your notice, while flawless distortion packed guitar solos performed by Eorann Stafford and Sean Gosker, along with some neat well compacted riffs played in synch by both, grab your attention throughout this wonderful and exciting debut album. 'Gypsy Trip' is choc full of fast beats, slinky piano riffs, bluesy harmonies and stuff to rock you for real.
Formed in 2003 this band has previously released two E.P's, 'Raw' and 'Falling on the Fears'. The fact that this supremely talented bunch of guys hail from Ireland doesn't surprise me considering most truly good Rock bands who have blazed a trail across the Globe since as far back as the 70's were Irish. Thin Lizzy, U2 and the Cranberries are typical examples.
With prodigious guitarists Stafford and Gosker plus Damien Kelly on Bass supplying the guitar revs and riffs, Gavin Murray on drums playing hair raising beats and the seductive voice of John Maher (out on his own as a lead singer) and a never ending supply of powerful lyrics and melodies, Gypsy Trip has an appeal to all ages and all types of music lovers.
It opens with 'Breaking through' which involves a build up from a single resounding chord and a line sung 'can't stop it now!' to a magical guitar riff with a steady pace played on drums behind it. There's a sudden halt! Then things speed up for the fast moving lively verse with a real Quo meets AC/DC meets Stones feel to it and now- you -are - ROCKIN'!
The chorus has yet another change of tempo as a choppy drumbeat frames the catchy melody and all guitars give it the full Monty with no holes barred. It's one of those songs that make you open your car window turning up the volume and even if it's freezing, yell out the lyrics as you drive too fast over the speed bumps! The lead solo screams out at you as expertly plucked out or beautifully sustained notes pierce the air. Bass lines are belted out and there's distortion used as the lads let fly before coming up to the big 'YEAH!' followed by a whining winding down of guitar, to a full dramatic finish!
With a Zeppliny feel to it, 'Crazyman' is track two. Lots of zippy riffs and slinking but choppy beats give this song its theme. Tongue in cheek lyrics that are quite humorous but so dry tell you the story. Yet you just know John isn't smiling as he hits those highs and lows in the screamingly punchy melody line. A lone harmonica lends a splash of atmosphere, with a Cajun blues riff to add to the scene as it filters through here and there. A splash of harmony plumps the song out and dramatic slides up and down the frets of a gorgeously toned guitar in the solo whine and wail, with bass and distortion-laden bits framing the sound.
'Fever' – This song brings me back to bygone 'AC/DC' days with a dragged style of heavy rock. Lots of distortion, sweet slides in the riffs and an absolutely show stopping twin guitar solo involving Gosker and Stafford as Kelly's bold bass never loses momentum. John sings with such clarity and total passion as he goes from the slow verse to the urgent dramatic chorus. This number constantly glides up and down from one tempo to another and with thumping drums and an amazing drum roll finish, finally winds down. If this number is a little lengthy perhaps it's because the boys just love playing those sweet solos so much, they lose themselves in the music. I know I do!
'Hey You' reminds me a little of 'The Commitments' with a slow slinky intro moving into a real blues style chorus using a backbeat. Then there's the female voices doing harmony with lots of rhythmic 'oohs' going on and a honky tonk piano riffing away to liven things up.
'Crave' is a love song performed with soul and is demonstrative of the fluency and range of John Maher's voice. Emotionally charged and very nicely balanced, it includes a fabulous lead solo which involves the two guitars once again; almost melding into one they are so perfectly blended. Dramatic drum rolls and emotional whoops from Maher give a certain explosiveness to this number despite the fact that it is romantic and sweet.
To my favourite number or at least the first of my two favourites 'Can't Stop'. This just has to become an all time classic if there's any justice in the world. Beginning with a straightforward riff this song starts off with an easy going beat behind a tuneful and catchy melody. Then it speeds up for the loud cheerful chorus with close harmony and the cutest little riff repeated after each line. There's a sweet solo followed by a slowing down for the middle eight, which is like a chance to catch your breath before it changes up to high gear again and your back to the wild whacky chorus of 'Can't stop thinking, can't stop thinking of you!' I often play this song driving along with my three year old son in the back of the car. He loves it so much he tells me to shut up so he can sing. Jaded Sun seem to have that knack of winning the adoration of old and young alike. A very special ability indeed!
'Sweetness' is a slow mournful song that sounds to me like it's about depression or suicide. As John sings softly and tenderly in a lament, there seems to be a message of hope amid that sad regretful reminiscence that we all go through when we think of long lost youth and happier times.
With a gorgeous melody this one sobers the listener up after all the rock 'n' roll madness of the first few tracks. The guitar solos and wonderfully touching lyrics make this a beautiful ballad.
Following this is yet another slow song 'He knows home'. It's another outstanding number but comes too soon behind the other song. It's only a minor glitch. Besides, the next number makes up for all the moody, solemn stuff. It is most definitely my own personal favourite after 'Can't Stop' and it's called 'Positive'.
'Ooh YEAH!' are the first words that cut through the silence to begin this fast moving, fun number. It's a good old fashioned Rock 'n' Roll song with all the right ingredients!
Riffs with cheek, a fabulous guitar solo and a big distorted voiceover that reminds me of the giant from 'Jack and the Beanstalk' saying 'Always try to think positive'.
The chorus is brilliant with ballsy riffs, bass framing every note and distortion used all over the place.
Just when you think this album is getting to be a bit maudlin, this one comes along and kicks you in the ass!
'Higher' – Starting off with a catchy riff and crunching gritty rhythm, this number is true 'Jaded Sun'. It is THE air guitar song for me. The chorus reminds me of 'Highway to hell' by AC/DC with that special element some bands have of convincing you that your job as the listener is to punch the air, belting out the chorus and let the adrenaline rush do the rest!
'She's got class' – A richly balanced but very seductive number brings this memorable but 'Rocky' trip to a close. It starts with a lone drum intro building up with a shitkicking ZZ Top styled guitar riff, then the verse which is sung with style and arrogance by John Maher follows. John Maher really shows off his voice in this number. This guy has that kind of voice that rips through you in the sexy flirtatious style he has that's so dirty, but devilishly nice as he sings 'Gimme some of that sweet wine!' Then the solo is poured out with lots of sleazy slides so that the guitar even seems to be seducing you as you listen! Backing vocals lend a cheerful atmosphere to the sound. A perfect beat played by Gavin Murray and the gorgeous riff from the intro bring the last song to it's conclusion along with screaming and totally powerful guitar riffs and the chorus sung with clapping going on behind and an almost tangible sense of relief after a job well done, coming from the whole crazy but wonderful bunch that worked so hard to give us a memorable experience in 'Gypsy Trip'.
|Review written by: Angela Macari-O'Looney --|