New Yorkers Mick’s Jaguar reportedly started life as a Rolling Stones tribute band (geddit?!) before the lure of writing their own material and living a life of luxury off of the resultant royalty cheques became too much. Or something.
Whatever their reasons for going straight, we should all be thankful. Although there’s a slightly ‘knowing’ whiff about Fame and Fortune – are they taking the mickey? Are they for real? – Mick’s Jaguar have created an immensely pleasurable listening experience with this album.
Opening track Real Boss brings The Dictators to mind, and that’s as good a starting point for any ‘retro’ rock n’roll band I guess. Closing track New Orleans Blues opens like Freebird and ends like ZZ Top’s First Album – and that’s your set of references right there. Southern blues with a punk edge, stylish new wave with dirty denim flourishes. Take your pick.
Pay to Play is an insistent, glammed-up rocker, all three guitars in the band’s arsenal being put to good work. Third track Where We Go is groovier, sounding like something that may well have been hatched in Alberts Studios in Sydney in 1974. You know what I’m talking about.
Here Comes the Night mixes sixties psychedelia with a Bachmanesque sledgehammer to good effect, whilst Blood on the Snow sturms and drangs away like a good ‘un without ever quite taking wings. Nice riffage though.
Hell Ride shamelessly appropriates things (well, one riff, anyway) from The Cult before getting down into a scuzzy yankee punk vibe that fans of The Dead Boys and the New York Dolls are sure to enjoy. Although the band plough a pretty limited furrow – classic guitars through classic amps, all analogue delight and a superior way with recording tape and a razor blade – there’s enough variety to be found within the grooves of Fame and Fortune to keep all but the most attention-deficited loon occupied.
Damnation is a superior attempt at classic rock list song, whilst standout track Country and Punk weaves all the disparate strands found elsewhere on the record into a concise and cohesive killer. At less than two minutes long you’ll be wishing it was longer, but sometimes brevity really is the soul of wit. Or at least of a good song.
Penultimate track Call The Guy is another hard-driving, guitar-happy rabble rouser, satin jacketed and running a great big, fuck-off gas gazzler round the neighbourhood with the stereo blasting; cocksure and snotty, yes. But bloody marvellous.
There’s not an ounce of originality at play here; but sometimes – especially, surely, in the world of rock classicism – there’s no need for any. Micks’s Jaguar know the game, and they play it like professionals. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in this field coming close to Fame and Fortune in 2018. Masterful.
Fame and Fortune will be released by RidingEasy Records on June 22nd.