Artist: Punch Drunk Cabaret
CD Review: JUKE JOINT REVIVAL
By: Dan Brisebois
Instead of following someone else’s formula to success and simply follow someone else’s trend, Punch Drunk Cabaret would rather pave their own road to success. JUKE JOINT REVIVAL HOUR personifies the mix of revved-up rockabilly and a punk attitude that’s made them one of the most energetic bands to listen to, and one of the most fun to watch live.
Bandmeister Randy B, master of the 12-string bass Terry Sawbones Grant, and drummer extraordinaire Sean E Watts call “Dustbowl, Alberta” home, and mix everything from rockabilly with punk undertones to little big band to roots to swing jive into one potent cocktail. They take that revved-up concoction to a whole new level – and JUKE JOINT REVIVAL HOUR is infectious high octane from front to back. Visually they might dress like turn of the century snake oil salesmen or out of a Klondike-era flashback, but they’re anything but a nostalgia act. They breathe fresh life into songs that are oh so familiar – yet you haven’t heard before.
They first got together in 2010, and before long were making a name for themselves the old fashioned way – playing their asses off and winning over crowds looking for something good – something alot of fun – and something like they’d never heard or seen before. Their live shows feature radical remakes of things like Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” and Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” and JUKE JOINT REVIVAL HOUR captures that energy that’s made them a hit everywhere they’ve played – from the outdoor festival circuit to the dimly lit bars.
Released in 2014, it’s their sophomore album, marking the return of producer and Juno winning engineer Ross Nykiforuk (Sheepdogs, Les Stroud, Jay Semko, Deep Dark Woods, Ray Elliott Band – and also a member of The Northern Pikes).
The sing-along choruses and dance floor-packing rhythms starting with the lead-off “Hail The Kings of Steampunk Swing” run rampant on this record. “Long Haul, Short Fuse” instantly reminds you of something someone like Beatfarmers would pull off, stripped down in the studio and centred around the age-old dilema of dealing with a hard-headed woman that’s just a little on the flirtatiious side. There are hints of Stray Cats and Tom Waits on the album, too – and that’s a good thing. They’re blazing a trail of their own while using their influences’ road map.
There’s really not a bad track on the album. It’s fun, and with the attitude of tracks like “Smokestack Cadillac,” “Columbian Smokeshow,” “Pandemonium,” and “Digg” are raucous and rowdy, and bristles with whiskey-soaked melodies and attitude. You feel like you’re indulging a little too much, but like any good shot, you’re always coming back for more.