A Joker’s Rage, a York [UK] based punk rock band have released their latest EP ‘Black Sheep’ this month. The band’s promotional write-up promises their new EP will challenge the listener like modern-day Muse, entertain like classic Kiss, and excite like MJ [Michael Jackson presumably]. They may cite these band’s in terms of how they affect the listener but there is not much I can detect in their sound that connects with them. A Joker’s Rage are very Punk, they are a little Screamo and a wee bit Emo… That’s not to suggest they won’t thrill you like Michael Jackson, say. There is a huge American Punk influence here and the band delivers that sound well.
In terms of the band’s image, they are unashamedly styled in white make-up with creepy Joker smiles, hence the band name. There has clearly been an effort in conveying a personality here and I think their latest video ‘Bounce’ will either make it or break it for potential listeners. I must admit I was a little unsure at certain intervals in the video whether I should be laughing in acknowledgement of their fun-side or if I should nod respectfully to the emotional tone of the verse. It was a little conflicting and I thought – they’ll be angry if I laugh at their make-up!
The EP ‘Black Sheep’ has five tracks and the first one up is ‘Bounce.’ This is a sensible Single for the group as it is a perfect example of their abilities, with an emotionally toned verse and an up-tempo chorus which quite literally bounces. Think RATM’s ‘Know Your Enemy’ re-imagined by ‘Fall Out Boy’ and you’re in the general neighbourhood. The recording is top-notch and the chorus while simple, is very effective.
The second song on the EP is the title track ‘Black Sheep’ and takes the group’s abilities and musical aptitude to the fore. There is an additional layer of sophistication here and falls into more progressive territory. This track has pretty much everything a group like A Joker’s Rage can throw at a listener, musically speaking and is a great achievement I think.
The third track ‘Temptress’ is a funky departure from the emotion but the band’s sound is retained and doesn’t sound out of place. Next up is ‘Closure’ and contains synth and rhythmic elements in the intro you’d usually expect from a Timbaland-produced track. This is soon pushed aside by a rock opera-esque explosion. It is unexpected but seamlessly integrated so you don’t question it much at all. This is certainly the ballad of the EP if you could call it. Again the band are showing their progressive side here. A musical-esque influence continues in the final track ‘Just Another Ghost’, this group just isn’t satisfied being labelled as plain old punks.
It is worth mentioning in addition to the group’s image they carry names not unlike their influential predecessors ‘Kiss’. Band members include ‘Zakky Boy Taylor’ on vocals, Adam “Twiggy” Gauton on Guitars; Al Scott on Guitars; Geordie Ginface on Bass and finally Matt “Bam Bam” Collinge on Drums/Keys.
The EP ‘Black Sheep’ is available on iTunes & Google Play now