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Jackson Firebird is a two-piece rock band that hails from Australia. Quoted as playing “Adrenaline Fuelled Aussie Rock ‘N’ Roll”, the band comprises of Dale Hudak (drums) and Brendan Harvey (guitars), and was officially formed in 2006. To be honest, the best way to describe Jackson Firebird is to quote the following from Duncan Jamieson [Fireworks Magazine]: “They make a bloody noisy racket considering there’s only two of them, and they manage to create diversity out of a fairly sparse palate.” There seems to be a fair amount of hype doing the rounds in certain circles when it comes to these two Aussies and their music. So, when this second album, ‘Shake The Breakdown’ [follow-up to debut album, ‘Cock Rockin’’] became available for me to review, I jumped at the chance to give it a listen and see what all the fuss was about.

The album itself consists of twelve tracks which are spread over a total running time just shy of 40 minutes (39:52 to be exact). The second you hit play you’re greeted to the sounds of some distorted guitar before being launched straight into a great main riff and drums as ‘Mohawk Bang!’ kicks things off. Consisting of great pace and an equally great rhythm, this album opener is a terrific listen which is highly memorable. With the addition of lyrics such as “Bang it out, Bang it out, Slam the Mohican ‘till the neck gives out …”, it’s the kind of track that all us headbangers will enjoy and can relate to. Despite containing backing vocals that remind me of Limp Bizkit (a band I dislike), this number certainly sets the tone for the entire album and I, for one, can’t help but feel that it’s been written for the live stage environment.

Swiftly following is ‘Get Away’, with its rather impressive riffs. This is another track that maintains a consistent pace throughout and has a nice little guitar solo between 2:07-2:36. With screams of “Get away” in places and an increase in tempo towards the end, it’s certainly a barrage of noise upon the ears! Ending abruptly, it sets you up perfectly for ‘New Wave’, which kicks off immediately with a great rocking rhythm. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album thus far and I can’t help but nod my head and tap my foot in unison with the rather addictive beat of this rocking number.

‘High Love’ comes next and contains a vocal style that has an echoing feel. It’s another quick paced number with melodic and memorable moments included. After 2 minutes and 44 seconds you’re introduced to ‘Sin For Your Lovin’’ by a guitar riff to die for. Consisting of another good rhythm, this song maintains your concentration throughout and has a tendency to stick in your mind for some time afterwards, before the sounds of ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ blasts through the speakers. Whilst the instrument play and music itself is rather good, I can’t help but hear Freddie’s voice in my head as Jackson Firebird progress through this Queen cover. A solid effort but not as good the original.

Yet another great riff introduces you to ‘Devil’s Door’, as we begin the second half of this album. Consisting of a good rocking rhythm, the band succeed in getting my head nodding and divert my attention away from the previous track. With some excellent guitar play throughout, this is a good, quick paced number until things get a little crazy from 2:41 onwards, thus throwing everything up in the air! ‘Voodoo’ also has a good rhythm and pace, with a good rocking style. However, some of the vocal sections start to grate on me after repeated listens. The next track, ‘Headache Mantra’, is very hard to take. Containing more profanities than a Fred Durst-penned “song”, I just don’t get it and fight everything in my power not to skip to the next track. Fans of this band and some others of you will surely like/get this, but I just don’t. This one just doesn’t do anything for me, other than increase the pain levels in my bloody headache!

A welcome relief from the previous pile of shite I’ve just heard comes in the bluesy groove of ‘Sick ‘N’ Tired’. This is an excellent track and is easily one of my favourites on the album. Unfortunately, the good stuff ends as ‘The Clapping Song’ begins. This has all the marks of a bad nursery rhyme that my parents would sing to me when I was a little nipper! Seriously guys … WTF?? I’m all for bands having fun, but this just aint me and is a stupid addition to the album in my opinion. Once again, I fight every urge not to skip this one! Finally, I’ve reached the last and title track of this album, ‘Shake the Breakdown’. It consists of a good rhythm with some equally good guitar play, although not a particularly quick track in terms of pace. After some good moments, however, that oh so terrible yet familiar sound that is similar to Limp Bizkit returns and closes out the track and, thus, the album.

Jackson Firebird certainly make a hell of a lot of noise for a two-piece, with both Dale and Brendan contributing to the vocals throughout. The music on display is diverse and doesn’t stick to any particular formula or genre. Yes, there are particular tracks on the album that I just don’t get or like, but that’s not to say they shouldn’t be on the album. Having said that, the fact that they are (obviously) included is reflected in my overall rating.

With ‘Shake The Breakdown’, you get a predominantly good selection of songs that will literally rock your socks off. It’s an album of feel-good, quick paced, hard rock songs, with added diversity and craziness included… with the exception of the blues-tinged ‘Sick ‘N’ Tired’. Whilst I don’t really understand the amount of hype surrounding this band upon the release of ‘Shake The Breakdown’, it is quite a good album. However, it’s certainly not a special or superb album. It is an album that is essential listening for die-hard fans, that is a certainty. For others, this is an album that deserves your attention to allow you to make up your own mind.
Napalm Records
Review by Chris Palmer
4th Sept 2015
1) Mohawk Bang!; 2) Get Away
3) New Wave
4) High Love
5) Sin for Your Lovin'
6) Fat Bottomed Girls
7) Devil's Door
8) Voodoo
9) Headache Mantra
10) Sick n Tired
11) The Clapping Song
12) Shake the Breakdown
"...an album of feel-good, quick paced, hard rock songs, with added diversity and craziness included..."