It doesn’t matter where Danko Jones (the lead singer sporting his odd name) or the band itself comes from (for the record it’s Toronto). Like AC/DC or KISS, Danko Jones is the type of band whose music is so compelling that it transcends borders and isn’t defined by a concept as petty as geography. Danko Jones smokes with such heated rock ‘n roll that they are signed to record labels both American and European, have toured almost everywhere on Earth, and comprise a group of musicians who are black and white, quiet and loud, mad and happy. Danko Jones has a power in their music, a strange mix of AC/DC’s cock rock swagger with the tenacity of punk rock, the sheer riffing of metal, and even the moody touch of the blues. Taking this concoction straight from hell, Danko Jones blasts it from speakers and amps tuned to a garage rock level, and Danko’s power of rock transcends not only the confines of space but time as well; this is straight-up rock n’ roll that could have come from any decade, and still sounded as damn good as it does right this second.
Though many people are quick to step on the passing fad that was the garage rock/rock revival movement (myself included), I assure you Danko Jones makes bands like The Vines, The Hives, ect., look like pathetic imitators. In fact, maybe such bands are imitators. My main gripe with the whole garage rock genre is how unflinchingly poppy it is; the rock of days since past kicked the crap out of people, and thank God that this trio of rockers has been putting out quality music like this for a while now.
We Sweat Blood taps into the infamous Danko live experience, a visceral and insane orgy of sound and manic energy. So crazed is the band live that someone once remarked they were likely to be sweating blood soon and the name stuck as the title of the album. Re-released on Razor & Tie two years later here in the States, We Sweat Blood has lost none of it’s original and wicked energy and has gained a live DVD as well as two sweet exclusive tracks.
What makes We Sweat Blood such a joy to listen to is the equal mix of bad-ass rocking and raunch Danko Jones spins for us. Opener “Forget My Name” finds Danko growling about how he’d burn in Hell for a girl who makes him forget his name (no small feat) but at least she’d be by his side.
The exclusive “Lovercall” is a lusty jangle of low-fi rock, and the bouncy “Dance” is a perfect summer track for a day at the beach. Things really hit their stride on “I Love Living in the City,” a cocksure rocker that captures both the awe and grit of a large city. The punky garage rock of “I Want You” could easily reignite the Garage rock fad with some actual talent behind it, and “Sound of Love,” another exclusive, is a bluesy rocker that knocks socks off. “Heartbreak’s a Blessing” is a solid rock track, but it doesn’t stand out as much as the other songs.
“Wait a Minute” is a feverishly spastic punk tune, and “Strut” has that swaggering beer rock vibe about it most rock acts today can’t even hope to touch. A highlight like “Home to Hell” beats the feces from any of those weak “The-” bands of the last couple years; you know when Danko screams that “I’m going straight to Hell—Kill me now so I can get there faster” you’re dealing with something that has a lot more balls then any “rock ‘n roll” act on radio in the last many years.
“Hot Damn Woman” is such a raunchy piece of rock filth that you almost have to love it, and blues ass-kicker “The Cross” pisses on the ashes of the rock pretenders bands like Danko Jones so easily destroy. “Love Travel” is decent filler, not much else, but the bluesy garage rock closer “We Sweat Blood” is so convincing of the whole sweating blood thing you might have to dab your brow once or twice to make sure you aren’t losing any hemoglobin.
All in all, this is one of this “holy crap” albums that is a real gem to find for reviewing. Danko Jones is real rock for people who like their tunes loud, hard, fast, pissed off, yet catchy, all somehow at once. Danko Jones has mastered this hard-to-perfect art, and after only a spin or two of this stuff I had been reeled in hook line and sinker. Go get this CD right now, and I can safely say you will be caught too.