Jerzey Street Band
Breaking Radio Silence
These lads from Manchester have a strong influence and love affair from bands across the Atlantic. On their debut album Breaking Radio Silence, you can hear faint impressions of Bruce Springsteen. You can even catch The Eagles in some tracks. It’s hard to tell if Jerzey Street Band is merely a tribute or if they have an acute affection for this era of rock and roll. This era is far from lost with an abundance of radio stations transmitting the splendor of our rock and roll pioneers on a daily basis. Jerzey Street Band’s big mistake was ignoring the pitfall of sacrificing invention for the sake of familiarity.
Breaking Radio Silence starts triumphantly enough with the straightforward twangy rock anthem “Pale Blue River,” a very classic American rock in its approach with driving bass grooves and guitar strums flooded with flanger. If the whole album stuck with this strong (and road tested) formula, you would not have had such contradiction from track to track. “Reason to Speak” is the first example where a modern injection starts veering the album off the tracks. Other than the vibrant harmonica sprawls, the song is eye-rolling and beyond campy.
With lyrics like “So funny – Cuter than a bunny, I get drunk on your smile,” you think you are listening to a knockoff of Train than the more intended Lynyrd Skynyrd. This troubling trend continues on intermittent tracks and stalls their version of the self-described “freight train rock.”
Jerzey Street Band – Pale Blue River
“The Wolf” is a dusty blues jam that gets Breaking Radio Silence back in the groove. The harmonica lead between breaks is oddly the highlight of this song but really the hero of the album. It orchestrates the song structure while David Wrobel’s voice cascades off the bustling rhythm. “Rebels” is a story that is as dynamic as its upbeat mantra of alcohol and pride—true Americana in almost every sense. You will notice quickly that these English chaps are a no frills bunch, musically. If you are looking for fancy guitar solos and creative song structure, this is not your band. Ultimately, it is a disappointment as the American classic rock bands they idolize were considered revolutionary for such innovation.
In the end, Jerzey Street Band tells the story of a band that plays it too safe and struggles to stand out. They sprinkle American mimicked musical gems throughout but fail to ensure their own identity. There is nothing special that compels you to give Breaking Radio Silence repeated listens. The second to last track’s name “Hey! I’m Over Here” is an ironic candidate for a replacement title track. There is nothing wrong with finding inspiration from such a revered past but Jerzey Street Band let this past dictate their future.