85 / 100
Music is all about moods. If there has ever been a ‘mood’ album this is it. Yesterday I had no interest in listening to it at all. Today, with the car windows down, the temperature and the volume up, I couldn’t have been happier cranking this bad boy up.
For those that haven’t heard, Jack Chrome And The Darkness Waltz is the recording project moniker for Australian rock royalty Russell Morris and Rick Springfield – both a product of the Australian pop/rock scene of the late 60s.
Its rough, its gruff, its blues drenched dirty rock n roll, with a dark heart and even darker lyrics. Celebrating the festival ‘Day Of The Dead’, the album glorifies the ying and yang of life and death, with both artists represented equally over the 14 tracks.
Basically this is two EPs of the same style put together. Rick Springfield takes 7 tracks – all written and recorded by Rick on his own in LA – and by ‘on his own’ I mean ‘on his own’ – all vocals and instruments performed by Rick himself.
Russell and his band perform the other 7 tracks, with the sequencing moving back and forth between the two.
Style wise you get two very similar takes, which was obviously the point, but to break it down, Russell delivers his usual gruff, raspy bluesy vocals in the semi-acoustic driven blues rock style that his last 3 acclaimed solo albums have delivered.
For Rick, his half of the album takes the style of The Snake King another step (or two) further into the darkness. His vocals are rougher and raspier than ever for the occasion and the heaviest blues of his last solo album are even more pronounced here.
There is no doubting who either half of Jack Chrome is, but I can imagine many RS fans having a harder time appreciating this than Russell’s fan base.
Rick breaks into a more familiar melody on Death Drives A Cadillac and 50mg Of Hope, but for the most part, this is a solid, dark blues drenched rock record.
If one point is to be taken from this record – its that Springfield is one hell of a guitar player and can deliver a swaggering blues riff alongside the best of them.
The album may not be the style everyone on the commercial rock side of life might want, but its mixed and produced impeccably, it sounds a million bucks.