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Danko Jones - Sleep is the Enemy Review

by Travis Becker

With the Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing, one may ask-"what more can we ask of Canada now?" Well, without the benefit of asking, our neighbors to the north give unto us, Danko Jones. Too catchy for punk, too heavy for Pop, Danko Jones presents something of an enigma. There's no puzzle here, though. Danko Jones just rocks. With their new album, Sleep is the Enemy, the bands continues to establish its place as one of the most underrated Rock bands in all the land.

Bubbling over with attitude, Danko Jones boils down a strange concoction of the Ramones, mixed with classic rock and maybe just a dash of slowed-down, funky Suicidal Tendencies thrown in just for fun. Choppy, riffed-out verses mix with swinging, sing-a-long choruses and lyrics delivered with undeniable cool. Listen to some early Rollins Band records and you'll hear some similarities in the delivery of the band's frontman and namesake. Indeed, the singer blends some of the cool of Phil Lynott and the off-kilter insanity of Hank. On "Invisible" he sings of crashing his car or ripping off his nuts, just for his woman (presumably). It takes some kahones to pull that off and not sound silly.

While the music may sound simple at the surface, a little careful listening reveals a lot going on within this power trio. Solos hide beneath the surface, and the riffs and drumming are delivered with such precise timing, a sort of punked up Helmet is the only comparison that works. The sound initially seems wild and uncontained like the proto-punk of the Stooges, but a closer inspection reveals a tightly regimented performance with nary a note out of place. Guitars rattle like machine gun blasts punctuated with drums like well placed mortar fire.

The opening track sets the precedent, with a melody that's catching like the bird flu. The track recalls Rocket from the Crypt minus the horns as do the next couple of numbers, "Baby Hates Me" and "Don't Fall in Love". The latter track features a near-falsetto vocal turn from Jones and could easily be on the radio if the world of radio was a better place. "She's Drugs" just has a nice message and an epic metaphor that's unmatched in contemporary song-writing. "Time Heals Nothing" is an absolute epic, on par with "Dream On". Sure it's darker and more violent, but so is the world. While it's not exactly epic in length, at almost four minutes, it kind of is for Danko Jones.

It's hard not to like Danko Jones. They're not exactly reinventing the wheel, but they will sure run you the hell over. Crazed and calculating in the same breath, the band brings schizophrenia to Rock and Roll. Brooding and paranoid, and then exultant and boisterous, the personalities are all here-this is not party music.unless of course there's a party raging in your mind. Or the voices just tell you there is. Party on.

CD Info and Links

Danko Jones - Sleep is the Enemy

Label:Aquarius/Razor & Tie

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