Before I was born my father spent several years making ends meet as a professional rock radio deejay. So yes, there were stacks of records around the house from day one and yes, there was plenty of rock music played in the car, but not until I was around 19 did I have that big moment when I “discovered” the … err … glory of rock n’ roll, or whatever.
Having grown up around the pop sounds of the Beach Boys and Beatles, it was not until I heard three specific records that I felt, ya know, the explosive heat and passion of rock-done-right. Two of those three artists who changed my life (Iggy Pop and The Rolling Stones) are heavily represented in spirit on Analog Ocean, the debut record from The Sacred Broncos (fka Jinx and the Back Alley Cats).
While Analog doesn’t really sound too much like Raw Power or Beggars Banquet, I get the impression that the band – brothers Brian and Michael Jenkins, Pete Dio and Derek Mauger – are the kind of guys with whom I’d have felt a kinship all those years ago.
Their sound best described as a 90s-informed take on 60s garage rock, the Broncs recorded Analog with local musician/producer Jason Davis (Streetlamps for Spotlights) at his excellent all-analog Off the Cuff studio in Fort Wayne. The result is a 10-song (and two interlude) collection that plays through like a very cohesive riff on borderline psychedelic rock, fitting somewhere between early Kinks, The Animals and a handful of today’s garage revival bands.
“Runnin’ Shoes,” one of the immediate standouts, is a bluesy rocker that opens with an Iggy-inspired howl, next falling into a swaggering rhythm held high by a big, memorable hook and, yes, some more Iggy-styled yelps. “Be My Gun,” another initial standout, is, from what I’ve heard, probably the band’s best moment yet, feeling like an instant classic that could surely do well on radio (if radio still played new music).
Though they may not want to hear it, the song (and much of the record) brings to mind some of the “The” bands that came out after The Strokes struck oil in the early 2000s, especially The Vines. (And maybe a dash of early Jet too.)
Throughout Analog you’ll also hear bits of Frank Zappa, The White Stripes, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Sonics, various surf rock bands, a dash of The Doors and even The Violent Femmes – all spread over a layer of very-90s-sounding drums (grunge era, specifically). But enough with the soundalike game. Analog Ocean is definitely its own beast, worthy of its own praise. Brian Jenkins and Mauger, who both play guitar and sing lead, have grown tremendously since their still-recent Jinx days. What we end up with is a timeless-sounding rock record that plays through, mostly solid, from front to back.
And yeah, sure, the record is a fine example of the band. But, to me, the Broncs shine brightest when on stages, playing loud and spirited sets that fit in well with bands like the Blacks Lips and some of Jay Reatard’s projects. Luckily for us, they’ll be taking the Brass Rail stage (alongside Church Shoes and Streetlamps) on Friday, February 4 to celebrate the release of their stellar new record. Be there. (Greg W. Locke)
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