The deluxe CD edition of Danko Jones' sixth studio album, Rock and Roll Is Black and Blue, comes with a guitar pick stamped with the band's logo, and as promotion gimmicks go, it's perfectly fitting -- with all due respect to bassist John Calabrese and drummer Atom Willard, this album is all about guitars, big electric guitars that beat you about the face and neck until you bellow in glorious submission, and Rock and Roll Is Black and Blue is one album that comes damn close to living up to its title. Not that the group's namesake guitarist and singer is aiming for the status of a mythic guitar hero; Danko Jones deliver no-frills hard rock in the grand tradition of AC/DC and Motörhead (with Thin Lizzy informing the melodies), though if anything, their music is even more elemental than what those bands serve up, and while Jones' furious six-string bashing is front and center throughout on these songs, he clearly sees the guitar as a weapon, not an instrument, and acts accordingly. As usual, Jones has fun with his badass image and abundant attitude on Rock and Roll Is Black and Blue, as he celebrates the opposite sex ("Legs," "Type of Girl"), dismisses people who aren't up to his level of coolness ("Conceited," "You Wear Me Down"), and lays out plenty of snark (on "Just a Beautiful Day," he sums up his tastes by saying "I just want loud guitars," confirming what the previous three songs already made clear). Producer Matt DeMatteo gives the music a clear, tough sound that's simple but full of force, and Calabrese and Willard are an admirably fierce and dexterous rhythm section whose precise attack is just what the songs need. But this band is called Danko Jones for a reason, and if you want to hear someone hit you in the forehead with guitar chords for 45 minutes, then Rock and Roll Is Black and Blue is just what you've been looking for -- just don't say you weren't warned when you need to lie down afterwards.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming