Offering a pleasant blend of alt-country and pop/rock, Jackpot produces a winner on 2002's Shiny Things. Where many bands in their shoes tend to lean too far in one direction, Jackpot balances the two sounds with an uncanny ease. These simple rockers shuffle along with a light and easy bounce that comes off like a country-fried Matthew Sweet. The grizzled lyrics of thin-voiced singer Rusty Miller fit this music perfectly, offering a desperate outlook that stands against the up-tempo lift of the songs. "Psycho Ballerina" is a great example, displaying a gorgeously sad vocal line floating over the shimmering guitars and bouncy bass part. This contrast works well, and the band rarely takes a misstep along the way. The moody and elegant "When You Leave" is one of the few changes of pace, an acoustic ballad that offers up sparse finger-picked guitar and fitfully dark lyrics. "Throw Away Your Misery" is another change of direction, albeit into a funky synth-enhanced direction that lands between Gomez and Brad. This is a less welcome change, but only because the track is noticeably weaker than the rest of the disc. But for the most part, this is rock-solid pop/rock that showcases a confident band hitting their stride. Where alt-country seemed to get stagnant toward the turn of the century, its nice to hear bands like this helping it develop and blend with other genres. Jackpot's previous output has been impressive, but Shiny Things is a really great album that deserves attention from fans of this genre.
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano