Danko Jones

Sleep Is the Enemy

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

If there's one thing Danko Jones know how to do at this point, it's how to rock. They did it in We Sweat Blood, and it's exactly what they do again in their fifth full-length album, Sleep Is the Enemy. The formula for both these albums has been pretty consistent: fast power chords with a distorted bass echoing the guitar; loud, driving drums; and vocals that fluctuate from a low growl to a mellifluous croon to a full-out scream. But that doesn't mean the new album is ever boring: there's too much raw emotion and sexual energy to allow anyone even a brief moment to nod off. For the band, this is a very important thing; the name of the record is Sleep Is the Enemy, after all, and the simple, to-the-point choruses are just meant to be shouted along to in packed, sweaty stadiums. Jones himself is all testosterone and bravado and is in great form vocally, expressing his indifference toward a jaded lover in "Baby Hates Me," instructing the less confident in when and how to give "The Finger," and angrily yelling his plans for revenge in "Time Heals Nothing." Yes, the themes here, like they always have been with the band, are women and sex and aggression, which are practically the same thing for Jones, but in Sleep Is the Enemy his willingness to explore the ambiguity of the topics shows his (slightly greater) maturity. In "She's Drugs" (which contains the fantastically catchy chorus "She's drugs, she's drugs/Just one look and you get addicted/She's drugs, she's drugs/You take a look and now you're hooked, that's what I predicted"), he chides a friend for being seduced by a dangerous woman, but then in "Invisible," he goes on to list a number of extreme things he'll do for another who isn't noticing him (burning his house down, maxing out his credit card, and making his mother cry being three of the least violent examples). Yeah, Sleep Is the Enemy isn't musical genius by any standard, but it is a loud, confident, straightforward, and fun album that skips guitar solos and instrumental frills to focus on what truly matters to Danko Jones: rocking.

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