I confess. I join random things on Facebook whenever people suggest them, and often for no reason other than it was suggested. Sometimes I don’t even look at them again. My justification is that while there is no real personal gain from ‘Liking’ the pages I do, the bands and causes are getting their ‘Likes’ up. As a band member I know how it good it feels for a low-key Kiwi band to feel like they’ve touched… well in my case… 80 people…
Jackal was different. I don’t want to point fingers, but I think it was Kasium’s Kieran Cooper that directed me to Jackal and I wasn’t disappointed. Soon after ‘Liking’ the page a message came through saying Jackal were releasing their new album, Only Everything and better still, it was a free album.
Still trained as student, though now graduated, my eyes are always peeled for the chance to get free stuff, and even if the album was shit, I got a free album to add to my collection. Finally I had found a Facebook page that offered me some personal gain. And Lady Luck on my side, the album wasn’t shit.
The album opens hard and heavy with “Rivet Head” a track that sounds like the unholy infant of Led Zep and Pantera, with the backbone and wings of “Whole Lotta Love” and the teeth and lungs of “Cowboys from Hell.” The intro recreates that same rise metalheads and Top of The Pops fans have been getting from that certain Led Zep track for decades.
But don’t be mislead into thinking by the rocky opening track that this is a hard rock album. Over the next three quarters of an hour Only Everything flirts with a variety of styles and genres. Following “Rivet Head” we’re greeted with the repetitious, in a Red Hot Chili Peppers sort of way, “Upper Middle Class Blues.”
We see the band’s Progressive Rock side on “Stealing a Glass Eye.” Over roughly seven and a half minutes we hear a Mariachi playing all Santana-like turn into a track that could come from HLAH’s Blood will Out, a bit of Tool, a bit of System of a Down in the solo, then coming out like the aforementioned Kasium.
The short, sweet and unusual “Spike & Associate” could be described as the result of listening to Zappa and Tom Waits at the same time on Mushies. For the right people there are no bad connotations to that observation. What I’m trying to describe are the noises and voices and twangdoodling and sweeping all over the otherwise well structured.
I haven’t decided if the rocky “Where We Came In” is about sex or not. This is my favourite style of vocals on the album. Angry, raw, visceral. I haven’t heard anything like it since exploring pre-Bleach era Nirvana demos and jams. The music chugs away, the drums get heavier, the vocals get louder, everything builds with the snare roll. It’s a tsunami. You feel it coming and all you can do is wait in anticipation for that wave to drop. And it does. Hard. You’re twisted around in the turbulence of guitar solos and cymbals floating around. Then the music smoothes out again and starts to build again. You stand wait for the next wave.
The next nineteen minutes are spent in the Undertow era jam that is “The Woken” and the ten and a half minute epic “Only Everything” that makes you want to listen to Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” one more time. They’re journeys and trying to describe them and give them justice would be like describing every tree from Auckland to Wellington. They’re tracks better enjoyed for the feelings they conjure while listening. I’ll save the words for you.
Previously I’ve heard this combination of styles and familiar sounds described as inconsistent, and the implication was Jackal needed to find their own sound and direction. These “inconsistencies” are the fun part of Almost Everything, and if anything make me connect more with the music. Hearing the familiar feels better than being thrown into the middle of a mosh pit at a local Cradle of Filth cover band gig.
Only Everything is still free on Jackal’s Bandcamp page, so get your copy. People don’t seem to like my stream of consciousness approach to reviewing music they think they could describe better themselves (if you’re reading this and think it’s directed at you, it is). If you’re in that camp, best to go to Bandcamp and hear the album for yourself. The whole point in it being free is to gain exposure and fans, and if you read this far already without hearing Jackal’s new album Only Everything, then you, my friend are now a fan.
Jackal are a four-piece band based in Auckland. With a wide range of influences, Jackal have created a unique progressive rock-meets-psychedelic sound that has captured an interest in Auckland's alternative scene. Jackal never fail to put on a high-energy show and are an absolute must-see live. Make sure to follow Jackal to stay updated with their frequent gigs and a new album which will undoubtedly impress.