22 Jacks


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22 Jacks is a rare statement of modern post-punk that is both enjoyable and possessed of musical integrity. Three backing vocalists in this two-guitar band lend depth and substance to their material. Competent in both pop-leaning punk rock à la the Ramones and punk-leaning pop/rock à la Soul Asylum, 22 Jacks has the ability to cover "3 A.M." from New York City's Clowns for Progress followed immediately by Sting's "Message in a Bottle" in a three-song section of live material recorded in 1997. 22 Jacks is formed around the duo songwriting kernel of singer Joe Sib (Wax) and guitarist Steve Soto (Adolescents), and is backed by guitarist Bill Fraenza (he wrote and played on the group's previous Uncle Bob album), bassist Kelly LeMieux (Fear), and drummer Jose Medeles (Breeders). A host of guest musicians show up, including a keyboardist and a three-man horn section for a rendition of "Tracks of My Tears" that leaves the soul intact. Former member and former Adolescents drummer Sandy Hancock still provides the lion's share of the drumming on this recording. Joey Ramone sings "I'll Be with You Tonight" (Cheap Trick) backed by 22 Jacks. A full, two-guitar sound, bright backing vocals and solid songwriting make the pedigreed and fun-loving 22 Jacks a compelling new voice of power pop that is more fresh and contemporary than it is nostalgic.

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