End Of The Trail Records – 13th August 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

In a world of intertext, whereby everything references something else, there’s something that goes beyond homage in referencing one’s influences in naming your band. Sure, it’s a nifty short-cut signpost indicating influences and origins, but Australian act Burning Jacobs Ladder – essentially the vehicle for Jake T Johnson – takes its name from a song by Mark Lanegan. This makes it cool practically by default, but it helps that BJL has got the songs to back it up.

With ‘Danger in Me’ he’s brought together a classic post-punk vibe with an early 90s alternative swagger. There are hints of late Psychedelic Furs later Jesus and Mary Chain, delivered with the knowing coolness of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Also in the mix is a gothy element, that makes something of a nod to the bombast of The Mission, but equally worthy of comparisons to the more contemporary Mayflower Madame. If this seems like a lot of touchstones and reference points, it serves to highlight just how strong a handle Johnson has on the style and the sound, and it all comes together perfectly here.

‘Danger In Me’ has a darkness and density, and it’s propelled by a tight, crisp drum track, chugging rhythm guitar, and an insistent four-square bassline of the kind that thrums along at just the right pace to elevate the pulse just that little bit (and reminds me more than just a little bit of ‘More’ by The Sisters of Mercy, who were always the kings of that tight three- or four-chord sequence thudded out with a strike on each beat). And then there’s the reverb, pitched just so, and the lead guitar sizzles around Johnson’s vocals as he wrestles with internal conflict.

Disclosure: I’m an absolute sucker for this strain of groove-orientated post-punk – but this is one of the best examples I’ve heard in a while: truly top drawer.

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