by Neil B.
In this age of resurrected rock icons there can be no more welcome a revival than Jason and the Scorchers. Following a handful of well-received reunion shows in 2008, this year sees the launch of an extensive international touring programme and their first CD of new material for over a decade. In case there is any doubt let’s be absolutely clear that Halcyon Times is not going to disappoint. The material is consistently stronger than 1996’s (very acceptable) Clear Impetuous Morning, and while there are plenty of instantly recognizable Scorchers songs on parade they also demonstrate enough ambition to suggest that the songwriting talents of the principal members haven’t been deep frozen in the meantime. From the kick off with punked-up hoedown “Moonshine Guy” through adrenalinised stompers “Mona Lee” and “Getting Nowhere Fast” to rock ‘n’ roll paean “Golden Days”, long time fans will find much to reward their patience, and many will agree that “Days of Wine and Roses” may well be this album’s “Broken Whisky Glass”. Elsewhere the storytelling which Ringenberg has perfected in his solo career finds appropriate expression in blue collar fables “Beat on the Mountain” and “Mother Greed”, and Warner Hodges’ heavier inclinations fashion the southern rock stylings of “Deep Holy Water”, “Better than This” and the anthemic “Land of the Free”. It’s too early to rank this alongside their groundbreaking early work but the signs are that it will stand its ground for some while yet and make a pleasing update to the live set.