Danko Jones has been making exhilarating and addictive alt-punk rock for close to 19 years. But you ask the regular rock fan if they heard the latest Danko Jones album, Fire Music, and they will ask ‘What is a Danko Jones?’ and ‘Why are you stealing my sandwich?’
This rock trio from Canada is a lot more Comeback Kid and a lot less Rush. Their sound can most easily be classified as punk-metal, and it manages to weave a lot of the Melvins sensibilities into an angst-ridden calculated intensity. The best aspect of the band, bar none, is their licks. It is as if they write a great guitar line and write the rest of the music around it. If the foundation is bad, nothing else will really work. Fortunately, Danko Jones has been riffing away since before most bands that they influenced passed 11th grade Calculus.
The group has unleashed their 7th record, Fire Music. I have a soft spot for album titles that are so blatantly straightforward. 1978 saw the release of Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food and Brian Eno’s Music For Films. Danko Jones is the sonic equivalent of quadruple stacked burger compared to Eno’s pretentious art-house project and the Talking Heads, well, whatever they were trying to do with their sophomore release.
The band here is less worried about staccato and more concerned over fighting and erupting. Danko Jones also has this weird wide appeal. ‘I Think Bad Thoughts’ imagines taking a friend’s girlfriend and screwing her in the backseat of your car. Afterwards, he will spit in your face, and maybe kill you.
That song came from 2010’s Below the Belt. The album was explosive and perhaps the pinnacle of Danko Jones ‘who gives a shit’ but really ‘I kind of do but I won’t admit it’ aesthetic. Because a band that really didn’t give a shit wouldn’t have crafted a nearly two decade long career as an underground rock darling. Canadians are not known for their abrasiveness, which perhaps contributes to why Danko Jones is such an anomaly.
Fire Music’s teases us with ‘Gonna be a Fight Tonight’ seek it out and check it out! It is the spiritual successor to ‘I Think Bad Thoughts.’ If there was any doubt that Danko Jones are in it to piss off weaklings and chug through some more testosterone fueled barrel fuckery, it should be put to rest. The song is sonically similar to Foo Fighter’s ‘White Limo.’ It comes out on the album as this huge call-to-arms, and it is an exhilarating highlight.
Danko Jones should be more popular, but I am not particularly surprised that they are not. They have turned over many of the same stones for years, so their ‘I’ll punch first’ ethos has run its course. But then again, it would go against ‘something’ if they stopped. It would be like Motorhead retiring. Leave that to R.E.M. Us? We are gonna fight!