Canadian hard rock trio Danko Jones is back with the release of their tenth studio album, Electric Sounds.
A staple in the Canadian rock scene since their 1999 E.P., ‘My Love is Bold,’ which scored them a Juno nomination, Danko Jones has consistently churned out some notable hits here and there such as ‘Had Enough,’ from their Below the Belt L.P.
Electric Sounds expertly represents the stagnation of modern hard rock. The album features a standard gritty yet polished tone across each track with simple uninventive riffs with its few high points lying in its poppier deep tracks.
The project’s lead single, ‘Guess Who’s Back,’ opens with a four-note guitar riff that overpowers the identical bass line and low-energy drums, then disappears for the following bar.
This melody repeats for the entire song; including the verse where the empty bar is filled with a single note strummed long enough to get back where it began.
This song falls flat lyrically, lacking story, emotion, intrigue, meaning, relatability or heart. It seems the lyrics are only there as a filler for the empty space.
“Damn, it feels so good/ Damn, it feels so nice/ It feels so good when you know you’re right/ And everybody else can kiss my ass.”
Good lyrics do not necessarily require any of these components, but when it feels like someone is singing for the sake of noise it doesn’t seem like there is much of a point. Relying on the shock or edge of saying ‘Motherfucker,’ or ‘punching the walls,’ for substance degrades the song further toward a level of late 2000’s corniness.
The album moves in the right direction with ‘She’s My Baby.’ The song dives straight into a catchy upbeat riff that clashes with the familiar guitar tone to jolt the listener awake. The song is a playful ode to a lady who’s overcharged with style, elegance and culture.
The song hooks you in with its lyrical contrast-, a distorted British voice raving about this one-of-a-kind, chic and unique girl, followed by Jones ecstatically proclaiming to the world that this girl is his own.
The remaining songs fail to explore far beyond the boundaries of hard rock.
Rather than develop complex sound with layered guitars, alternating rhythms, and uniquely genre-fusing tones, Danko Jones chooses to play it safe by creating something that would be played in the background of a YouTube tutorial from 2009 titled: “How to unlock Goku in Mario Kart Wii (WORKS 100% REAL).”
Electric Sounds does not really experiment with anything in a meaningful or interesting way compared to other contemporary rock sub-genres.
Although well-produced, the album’s creatively off-kilter ideas and concepts are shockingly underdeveloped, forcing the current to build up and blow a fuse.
If you told me this came out in 2007, I would believe you.
Lucas Bustinski for The B-Side.