The Jaggernauts

  • $ 800

Like a snarling werewolf leaping from the bursting windshield of a crashing hot rod, The Jaggernauts are back with album number two. It’s called Safe, and whad’ya know – it’s their 10th year together, too. Noel and the ’nauts are in their 30s and 40s now, but after taking these seven songs for a spin, listeners will find their imaginations are as wild as little boys. Musing on the album’s title, bandleader Noel Hanson said, “The band has been around for 10 years. We’re older but we have something to give. Don’t count us out, you know? I’ve heard and been told, said in passing, that our band is ‘safe’: There are no surprises, that we do the same show every time.” So in concept, Safe twists the criticism into an opportunity to showcase The Jaggernauts’ high-energy, melodic songwriting. Take, for instance, the verses in “Inspector 2112”: Lively vaudevillian piano and electric guitar licks play over a compelling action-packed movie pitch – though in the choruses indifferent Hollywood fat cats exclaim, “We’ve been through this before.” The lofty album closer is inspired by Martin Scorsese films and borrows its title from the director’s surname. And then there’s the 90-second fireball “Singaya,” a feverish retelling of director Peter Jackson’s infamous blood-spattered cult flick Dead Alive. Film references aside, Safe is a sonic love letter to the enchanting nature of storytelling itself. But as listeners rifle through the fur, metal, and glass, they’ll find Eau Claire is as fertile a setting for a rock ’n’ roll tale as Westeros or Middle Earth. Front to back, the band belts out its stories of trickster witches, card cheats, lawnmower armaments, and werewolf mythology with soaring solos and joyous cadences that channel ’70s glam and ’90s alternative rock. The Jaggernauts features the talents of Hanson, Chris Ramey, Joey Gunderson, Matt Florence, and Greg Kernkamp. Safe was recorded in two days last March at April Base with sound engineer Jaime Hansen, and features cover art by local comic book artist Steve Kurth. Alongside Safe, the band is re-releasing its back catalogue in one CD called 3 for 1 at Safe’s release shows. 3 for 1 includes 2009’s full length CD We Control the Horizontal, 2004’s The Lucio Fluci EP and a self-titled EP released in 2005.

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