Jackknife Seizure is a heavy, grunge-rock quartet hailing from a small town across the pond called London. Released on January 16th, 2017, their mini-album Starfisher is a great gift to those whose favourite music was created in the 90s. While the heyday of grunge has come and gone, the world is lucky enough to possess contemporary musicians who can still channel its energy and stands the test of time. Jackknife Seizure’s sound is often described as an eclectic combination of The Doors, Mastadon and “Soundgarden on a whole lot of Red Bull”, but to me their rock and roll quirkiness also sounds like a music baby between Primus, System of a Down, and Foxy Shazam – and trust me, this is a good sounding hypothetical baby.
Characterized by eccentric and quirky vocals, space-themed lyrics, and progressive riffs, Starfisher is fast, heavy, and never dull. In great prog-rock fashion, many of the tracks are quite long, and they blend together so well that Starfisher almost contains the flow of a concept album. The album opens with “Johnny Little Pocket vs. Mickey Pork,” which sounds like an epic soundtrack to the battle between Johnny and Mickey. On this track, Jackknife Seizure sound like they’re having a fucking blast.
Next up is the sexy, astrological “Fornicate Galactic.” With spacey effects on the vocals and lyrics referencing outer space, different dimensions, planets, stars, galaxies, supernova explosions, the second track could be a physics-rock anthem – if such a thing existed. Making you feel as if you’re floating out in space in your private rocket ship while listening to the track on the P.A system, “Fornicate Galactic” concludes with a sweet and satisfying instrumental breakdown.
For those who are not astronomers, the track “Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse” is not a reference to Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice,” but to a red supergiant star, located in the constellation of Orion, that also happens to be one of the largest and brightest stars that we can see with the naked eye. Betelgeuse a.k.a. Alpha Orionis inspired a sweet intro and a fantastic drum track. And the track is an ode to a giant star. Does it get much cooler than that?
The title track “Starfisher” is the sole instrumental track on the album. It begins with a Morse Code-like beeping and whimsical effects that sound to me like a soft banging on a crystal ball, and the wind blowing through beads that hang from a door. It’s weirdly hippie-ish for a rock album, but it works out great. Two minutes in, you get the bassline and an acoustic riff accompaniment to create a track that shows that Jackknife Seizure is a band of competent musicians and song writers, regardless of their speed. Revealing their depth, “Starfisher” would be my favourite track if it weren’t for “Tappy Tapperson.”
After the break that is “Starfisher,” the album dives straight back into its prior tone. From beginning to end, “Tappy Tapperson” is fast and heavy, and incorporates many solos in and amongst the riffs. With wailing vocals that match the wailing of the guitar, and fading into the Morse Code in “Starfisher,” the end of this track is hands-down the best part of a solid album.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Kate Erickson