The Jackets: Queen of the Pill

The Jackets
Queen of the Pill
Voodoo Rhythm Records
June 14, 2019

At long last The Jackets have released their fourth album, Queen of the Pill. It’s a brilliant record that shows off the logical evolution of the sound that made Way Out and Shadow of Sound great.

Queen of the Pill boasts the raw snarl of the fuzzed out garage-punk found in Way Out and combines it with Shadow of Sound’s refined freakbeat influenced garage-psych style. However, what sets Queen of the Pill apart from the previous records is The Stooges-esque proto-punk attitude twisting with elements of King Khan & The BBQ Show’s style, which should come as no surprise since King Khan was involved in this record’s production.

To sum up The Jackets, think of a nod toward the 1960s garage bands found within the grooves of Teenage Shutdown’s Target Fuzz, but fronted with the formidable presence of Alice Cooper, or the dearly departed wild man himself, Screamin Jay Hawkins. To get a taste, you could check out The Jackets ‘Be Myself’/‘Queen of the Pill’ single.

But if you didn’t get the single, you’re in luck, because both tracks are on the new album. These two songs beautifully admonish the unapologetically, unbridled nature that made Way Out’s ‘Freak Out’ brilliant and arguably iconic. Beware though; these tracks are rippers that demand to be played loud enough to breathe life into the monotonous masses of living dead.

From start to finish Queen of the Pill is comprised of garage-punk rippers. It starts out strong with ‘Dreamer,’ which invokes an obvious nod toward ‘Down Turn Yourself in’ from Shadow of Sound. Much like the previous record’s track, it’s a fuzz heavy punker.

It’s the kind of tune that grabs ahold of its listener with a provoking sound that leaves one under a sort of spell. Other tracks in this vein are ‘Don’t Lean Me Alone’ and ‘Deeper Way,’ both of these show off The Jackets’ garage-punk excellence.

‘What About You’ launches off this feeling, with a strong bass lead and freakbeat-meets-punk sensibilities. It bears the theme of love long lost, with a former partner or even band mate. This track is a personal favourite. It demonstrates The Jackets ability to be tight with an explosive sound.

‘Floating Alice’ is the track that demonstrates a noticeable depth for The Jackets. This track embodies the essence of psychedelic exotica. Played under certain illicit circumstances, ‘Floating Alice’ would be good to listen to while submitting to hypnosis.

Another fun track from Queen of the Pill is ‘Losers Lullaby.’ It’s got the kind of spunk that makes the tracks from the first three Damned albums fun. In other words, think of it as The Jackets answer to an anti-ex-partner themed punky defiance tune.

Overall, this is music that fits well within The Jackets catalogue of already released material. This is a solid record. It’s the kind of music that is meant to electrify ones blood through their veins, to commit acts of depraved rock n’ roll lunacy. Unsurprisingly that’s probably why it’s a perfect fit for Voodoo Rhythm Records.

If you know what’s good for you, then this record will find a home alongside your Gravedigger V and Music Machine LPs. The Jackets Queen of the Pill continues with their style of blending nostalgic 1966 garage sounds with something fresh for a new breed of mutant rock n’ rollers.

I recommend that those who have not heard their previous records start with the band’s second LP, Way Out. After that dip into Shadow of Sound, and then jump head first into Queen of the Pill. You’ll be glad you did, since this is the stuff that makes life worth living.

-Nick Kuzmack (DJ Nix Beat)