Jared James Ni­chols

Black Magic

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Albums - neil Jef­fries

Hard-gig­ging blues rocker over­does the rock.

Al­though steeped in blues tra­di­tions, Jared James Ni­chols plays gui­tar like a new-im­proved Ted Nu­gent (i.e. with­out the Ne­an­derthal pol­i­tics). For his three-piece’s sec­ond full-length al­bum JJ has gone even wilder than on his 2015 de­but Old Glory And The Wild Re­vival. But, dis­ap­point­ingly, in eschew­ing the nu­ance and va­ri­ety of that first al­bum, this one sounds less sat­is­fy­ing.

Over the 10 tracks, he sings well and does ring the changes – most no­tice­ably on the Staxy funk of Honey For­give Me and the stripped-back swampy blues of fi­nal track What Love – but around half of the three-minute blasts here are lit­tle more than riffs and so­los in search of a mem­o­rable tune, and some­times also even a de­cent end­ing.

When he’s good, as on opener

last Chance (an ab­so­lute blast, with an in­sane ham­mer-on solo) or the toothache-mean Don’t Be Scared, he’s very, very good. But lit­tle else on this al­bum holds a can­dle to those two.

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