Get Ready To Rock

January 2010
4 stars

“Halcyon Times” represents the first album of all-new material from Jason & The Scorchers since 1996 and it’s been well worth the long wait! The line-up here features Jason Ringenberg and Warner E. Hodges from the original 1981 line-up, bassist Al Collins and Swedish drummer Pontus Snibb (Dan Baird helps out on rhythm guitar).

A brief bit of history first – the band originally came together in 1981 and their first 45 is considered to be the first true cow-punk / alt-country record. Their 1983 EP “Fervor” and 1985’s classic “Lost And Found” were certainly groundbreaking records – their early sound mixed The Clash, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan and Jerry Lee Lewis!

“Halcyon Times” kicks off with the rockabilly blast ‘Moonshine Guy’ which is followed by a poignant and affecting tale of mining, ‘Beat On The Mountain’. The rip-snorting ‘Mona Lee’ is an insanely catchy and fiery number that is one of the album’s standouts, and the pace doesn’t let up with the chuggling ‘Fear Not Gear Not’.

Another strong cut is ‘Mother Of Greed’ which transports the listener from northern Wales in 1910 to Birmingham, Alabama in 2009. ‘Gettin’ Nowhere Fast’ is a high octane slab of rollicking country-punk, ‘Land Of The Free’ contains some mighty fine 12-string guitar, and another killer track comes in the form of ‘Golden Days’.

‘Deep Holy Water’ is a gutsy number, while there’s a dark and brooding undercurrent to ‘Twang Town Blues’. The epic ‘Days Of Wine And Roses’ is an instant classic, and the thunderous ‘Better Than This’ is another monster, complete with catchy as hell chorus.

The stripped-down country of ‘When Did It Get So Easy (To Lie To Me)’ could pass as a long-lost Hank Williams song, and the MC5-esque blistering riff-heavy nugget ‘We’ve Got It Goin’ On’ closes the album in style.

Overall, this great band are back with a truly (no pun intended!) scorching album. If you’re an existing fan then you’ll love it – if you’re yet to discover them, then this is the perfect place to start!