Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Album Review: Rat Jackson - Midnight Get Right

Midnight Get Right cover art

It’s now a matter of shared faith among all of us – tweedy Chomskyites, Oprahfied eat-pray-lovers, Farm Town enthusiasts – that we can uncover vast regions of the individual psyche simply by boiling life down to a couple of choices between two related but dissimilar items.

You know the ones. Is my stepsister’s new boyfriend going to take her on a six state killing spree? Hey there, Aldo, Beatles or Stones? Do I really want to plan a surprise birthday party with my fiance’s grandmother? Would you say you’re more of a boxers or a briefs gal, Joanne?

But can all this weighty Column A’ing and Column B’ing actually take us to the heart of anything meaningful?

Rat Jackson frontman Tad Jackson faces just such a choice in the opening moments of “Sexy Waitress” when he’s asked if he’ll be having the chicken or the steak. But as anyone who’s witnessed Rat Jackson’s balls out live show over the last few years knows, Rat Jackson will never worry about food when there’s a waitress to be had instead. And that choice does, in fact, tell us all we need to know about the Rat Jackson Rock’n’Roll Band.

Whether they’re dealing with sex, love, rock, sex, booze, sex, or sex, much of what feels exciting and fresh on Rat Jackson’s new debut record, Midnight Get Right, comes from their dead-eye focus on what really matters in love and music: making the heads bob and the knees shake. True to form, there’s no foreplay here. The band kicks off the covers in mid stroke with the call and response screamer “Holler and Jump” before stepping out into the swaggering back alley braggadocio of the title track, pursued by the wild dog slide guitar of lead guitarist Steve Oliva.

Although Get Right’s best track is probably “Summer Hummer” (a staple of the live set and the perfect showcase for bassist Rusty Sutton and drummer Chester Jackson’s skillful interplay of dance party rock), it’s a newer composition “Motorcycle Horse” that really warms up with repeated listens. As a love song to an imaginary chariot of female procurement it exchanges the more comic book dimensions of White Zombie’s “Black Sunshine” for the inspired trapper keeper fever dreams of a ninth grader in biology lab. But even at the heights of their most adolescent fantasies, Rat Jackson always manages to throw out the telling detail that keeps things grounded, as here our hero lothario promises to ply his new woman with round of cider and erotic photohunt.

We’ve known from our cradles that rock is at its best when it’s loud, fast and about fucking. But we tend to get caught up in thinking the answer lies somewhere on one side of an either/or divide. While other local rock bands are busy trying to figure out a clever angle or a new way to dress up to their craft, Rat Jackson walks up wearing nothing but an ascot and a jock strap and gets on with getting it on. They’ve built an aesthetic around the ability to recognize and eliminate these false choices that sometimes blind us to what we really want. And what we really want is a half motorcycle half horse. --Hidden Tiger

Post Script:

Saturday August 7th, Rat Jackson pulls together Red Collar, Aminal, and Reid Johnson at Broad Street Cafe for the Midnight Get Right album release party. Broad Street owner/promoter John Hite comments;
As a warmup for this event, the Broad Street Cafe will be tapping a special cask of of Triangle Brewing's Imperial Amber at 6pm! This strong amber ale has a strong malt presence that holds this brew together. IBUs of around 90 balance the brew which is dry hopped to add an invigorating citrus and floral aroma that linge...

Broad Street Cafe
1116 Broad Street
Durham, NC

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Midnight Get Right Release party details


  1. CD release party this Saturday the 7th at The Broad Street Cafe in Durham!!



  2. awes...thanks for the reminder john...post updated wit teh detail