The Black River
I need very little reminder of the vibrance of Toronto’s independent music scene. The amount of talent that has emerged in the last few years is nothing short of astounding. That being said, every now and then, a band drops an album that truly stands out for its overall quality, songwriting, and creativity. The most recent example is Jailbirds’ debut EP, The Black River, whose four tracks were recently released digitally for the first time. In short, this is a band to watch out for.
The Black River opens with the fuzz-laden distortion of “Black Madonna”, a track which perfectly sets the tone, introducing Jailbirds as a mixture of ‘70s and ‘90s hard rock. Immediately, a combination of Black Sabbath and Alter Bridge, with a touch of Soundgarden comes blasting through the speakers. With such a rich blend of influences stemming from the classic and grunge eras of rock, Jailbirds provides a truly unique sound. “Away From Home” introduces an even heavier sonic assault which crawls along at a sludgy pace.
While the blistering one-two punch of the opening two tracks certainly kick the album off perfectly, the groovy and laid-back approach on “My Secret Is Out” is a nice shift of pace which feels reminiscent of David Bowie’s early-‘70s glam period with The Spiders from Mars. The album closes with the scorching title track. “The Black River”, while largely driven by a shuffling beat, is a haunting and relentlessly hard-hitting track with an epic chorus.
The Black River is an incredibly strong debut, whose only fault is the brevity of the four tracks. The EP was so damn good, that it simply wasn’t enough. It overflows with fantastic guitar work, tasteful tones, strong and catchy vocals, and a tight rhythm section, all supporting their unique voice as songwriters.
This is a killer debut which captures Jailbirds as it utilizes a wide array of influences to assert itself as one of Toronto’s most promising up-and-coming rock bands. Without a doubt, any rock fan must hear The Black River.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: JAILBIRDS – THE BLACK RIVER