Harmony and Dissidence
I love it when a band’s influences are apparent without being a total rip-off. Jackson United’s love of The Clash is apparent, without trying to emulate the late, great Joe Strummer. Switching effortlessly between ska riffs, snotty punk three-chord standards, and shimmery guitar licks, JU (not to be confused with JEW!) shows that they have true mastery over musicianship. Jackson comes barreling at you from the start, with “21st Century Fight Song” sounding like a mix of Pennywise sing along bro-punk, The Clash and the entire Fat Wreck Catalog. They keep up the barrage until the fifth track, “Trigger Happy,” in which Chris Shiflett’s voice falters and sounds like a whiny snot instead of a rock veteran.
With brother Scott in bass and Doug Sangalang on guitars, Jackson United tear ass through the rest of the tracks, showcasing again and again their love for The Clash, The Ramones, and even showing Billy Bragg some love through a cover of ”God Save the Youth of America.” It doesn’t hurt that Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins [Editor’s note: This never hurts. Ever.] lay down the drums for this mega rock-a-thon.
–Jonathan “The Emperor!” Yost