Adult Alternative

7 February 2010
by Mike Rea

How does 'first album of all-new material since 1996' sound to you? Enough to strike fear that some old band has been forced by penury into the studio again, and that some retread will be the order of the day? Well, in the case of Jason and the Scorchers, put that thought far from your mind. Back in the day, J&TS and their version of cowpunk (think of the way that The Pogues turned Irish folk music into something hornier and dirtier, then think of that done to awesome country music) turned out something approaching genius, especially on Fervor their EMI debut in 1983. It is one of the all-time great records, and it has been argued (pretty successfully) that this was the album that generated alt-country, not Son Volt. Halcyon Times may not quite approach the spark that ignited Fervor, but it does have the kind of quality that sustained its follow-up albums Lost and Found and Still Standing. The cheekiness is still there, the hard rock, the melodic approach and the absolute absence of any subtlety. Funky as all get-out, there are all sorts of reasons to be grateful for this all-new material.