Album Review ~ Grandpa Jack ~ ‘Grandpa Jack’

Labels, labels , labels.

So many genres; so many sub-genres.

Call it psychedelic rock. Call it stoner rock. Call it power rock. Stick a f’n label on it if you have to, but I like to call it bad-ass! Three dudes based in Brooklyn, New York started writing and jamming and it didn’t take long for them to realize that they had something pretty damn cool going on. The power trio goes by the name of Grandpa Jack and consists of Johnny Strom on guitar and vocals, Jared Schapker on bass and Matt C. White on drums and vocals.

The guys just dropped their self-titled debut album entitled on 8/10 via Lost Moon Records and it’s eight tracks of ecstasy for the ears. Pay attention for a moment, if you will. Ecstasy is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception. It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth and distorted sensory and time perception. If you play this album in its entirety, I can guaran-damn-tee (thank you Stone Cold) you that you will experience exactly that.

In a day and age where bands seem to write and record with a singles mentality all while the attention span of the average listener is shrinking, Grandpa Jack gives a double middle finger salute to that way of thinking. Two tracks on this album are barely over three minutes, the rest average about five minutes in length with two clocking in at close to the epic seven minute mark! These are songs to get lost in and it’s easily done if you can allow yourself to let go and give in.

“Nomad” not only kicks off the album, it kicks down the door announcing (not literally) we’re here m’fers! The massive, fuzzy riffs are right there at the 0:01 mark and they barely let up. This track really sets the tone for what lies ahead on journey of epic proportion. “Mariana” was the first track that the guys released from the album back in June. That breakdown at about the 2:30 mark I so sweet to the ears and grooves out for a few minutes before picking back up its intensity to close out with. The track has a little bit of a Kyng vibe to it and that right there would be one helluva show if we could get those two bands together.

“Old New” is the latest track released and it’s quite a trip clocking in at 6:28. The distorted and fuzzy guitar tones at the beginning are psychedelic as hell before switching back to the fuzzy, crunchy tone found throughout the album. Although we love them all, “The Stone” is our favorite track on the album. It’s six minutes and forty-four minutes of perfection. It’s a little somber at first, but then you feel it starting to take shape and grow. The last two minutes is a flat-out bad-ass jam session with some mighty tasty guitar soloing going on.

It amazes me that this much energy and noise, damn good noise I might add, can come from just a three piece. Most of these songs have a slow, grinding, churning kind of feel to them and it creates quite a vibe throughout the album. Lyrically, at least to me, some of the songs seem to take on a dark tone that is both observational and self-reflective, but you might hear something else. That’s part of the beauty of music and of art. Two people can hear a piece of art or look at a piece of art and feel two completely different things. Well, I know one thing that we will all feel in common when we listen to this and that is that this album is pretty bad-ass!

By I’m Music Magazine Owner/Editor Johnny Price

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