Jackson United - Harmony & Dissidence
Record Label: Acetate Records
Release Date: September 2, 2008
Side project of Chris Shiflett, better known as the guitarist for Foo Fighters (and ex-No Use For a Name). The band consists of Shiflett and his brother, Scott -- who is known for being in a little band called Face to Face. The album also features guest drumming appearances by his Foo comrades, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins.
How is it?
Thinking along the lines of Green Day and The Clash, Shiflett's songs are packed with energy and a carefree spirit. His vocal style is very loose and casual, and Jackson United is Shiflett's chance to prove he has not lost his admiration for SoCal punk. "21st Century Fight Song" sounds like it could be on Green Day's setlist, "Undertow" is a blistering bolt of firepower and "Trigger Happy" is a nifty pop-punk song with dark overtones. Shiflett is no wordsmith ("The Land Without Law") and could learn a thing or two from Dave Grohl on songwriting, however the tunes are all tight enough to provide a solid punch. Shiflett does sound a little bitter on most tracks ("Black Regrets" has lover's quarrel written all over it), and the harmony here is certainly filled with some cynicism, but it's taken away due to the shimmer of the production. With a tad more 'lack thereof,' the record could provide a serious comparison to classic Strummer material ("Like a Bomb" would be so much better than it is if it was produced in grimy fingernail fashion). One thing that amps up the sound is Grohl and Hawkins' drumming, which as we all know, is incredibly potent and breathes new life into some of the songs that lack true melody ("The Day That No One Smiled").
Compared to their debut, Western Ballads, it lacks freshness and originality, but for any easy-to-please fan of working-class punk rock with a penchant for snappy tunes, Harmony & Dissidence is enough of a jolt to keep your ears satisfied. No one is asking Shiflett to give up his day job, he just ought to limit himself and keep it even more old school.