Jack Brag - Kiss at Midnight

by Kevin Orton Rating:8 Release Date:2015-08-12

“Everything ends,” gravelly voiced Jack Brag singer, Jim Robertazzi croons on the opening track. His voice a fine cross between David Johansen and Jim Morrison. It’s a catchy hello to a catchy album. The band shifts into a new direction with their latest, Kiss At Midnight. This is immediately evident on the second track, Someone To Kiss At Midnight, when the horns kick in. It’s a jaunty track but doesn’t quite disguise the longing, Robertazzi playing the part of some poor lonely heart staggering home after closing time.

The addition of Donna Deady on vocals also shows a significant shift from their previous sound. Covering  A Day In The Life is a ballsy move. It’s a commendable, solid effort with Deady and Robertazzi sharing vocal duties. But I must confess, it’s my favorite Beatles song so any attempt is going to fall short for this listener. Yet still, one has to admire the risk.

Pretend That You Love me brings the time worn standard, Just A Gigolo to mind and is an album highlight, Jay Varga’s cello a nice touch to Robertazzi’s jazzy tinkling of the ivories. I Hear A Song (And It Sounds Like Rain) finds the band in Blondie mode, Tony Donato’s tight guitar playing on par with the underrated likes of Chris Stein.

Another standout is the spare, experimental, Life And The Living. Robertazzi’s deep baritone at its best. The bouncy instrumental EWR soon follows to perk things up, but EWR is such a good title, and it features such a catchy hook, one is left yearning to hear the vocal track. Elsewhere, Breathe Deeply features a haunting chorus. The moody, Winter Dreams finds Robertazzi as lonely man at the piano.  The bare, lonesome simplicity of it makes for one of the album’s most moving and arresting movements. Kiss At Midnight ends on an uplifting note with Just Let I Happen. There’s always been a love of the 80’s in Jack Brag’s work, and it’s one of the things that makes them so much fun. Their no nonsense rhythm section brings Pylon to mind, and Jim Robertazzi’s phrasing is sometimes reminiscent of more gruff David Byrne. But here they give us a peek behind the upbeat façade. A definite step forward in the band’s progress. This is their third album and quite possibly their best and most experimental. For more on all things Jack Brag: www.jackbrag.com

 

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