Raleigh, North Carolina’s Jack the Radio begin their Badlands with Bad Man, a track that links together psychedelic rock with hints of country and jam band styles. The eclectic styling of Jack the Radio is hard to pin down, meaning that the act takes up so many different standards during Badlands that fans of any styles will find something that they can appreciate.
Ain’t So Bad has Jack the Radio take on a distinctly different style, blending together the sound of bands like Sublime and 311 with a laid-back bit of Surf Rock. There is a polish to the band that allows a sizzling guitar solo to take over at points, making for a highly dynamic and easily replayable effort. The Takedown is a highlight of the early section of Badlands as each element – bass, guitars, drums, and vocals – makes something that is decidedly greater than the sum of the constituent parts. Later tracks like Leaves showcase the ability of the band to work together to make a cohesive jam.
My Way infuses the inimitable style of Jack the Radio with just enough country to make for a radio single that would work just as well on country or rock stations. Elizabeth Hopkins is featured on Criminals, a cut that slows things up and showcases Jack the Radio’s ability to cut a ballad; this song takes up hints of Warren Zevon and Bon Jovi. The penultimate effort on Badlands is aided through the inclusion of BJ Barham; this effort touches upon the work of Goo Goo Dolls, Brantley Gilbert, and even bits of the Drive-By Truckers. Jack the Radio covers tremendous amounts of ground and makes for an album that will never grow old.
Top Tracks: Ain’t So Bad, Wayfared Warriors (featuring BJ Barham)