Danko Jones has been a fixture on the Canadian hard rock scene all century. With a dozen releases under his belt, countless miles on the tour bus, and even almost-weekly podcasts, nobody in Canadian music works harder. Wild Cat is Jones’ tenth full-length album, and is a straight-up, no-holds-barred collection of sleazily fun hard rock bangers.
“I Gotta Rock” comes pulsing out of the gates, a fast, driving number that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The themes present here – rock ‘n’ roll, love, and sex, and not necessarily in that order – permeate Wild Cat. “My Little Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Going Out Tonight,” and “Let’s Start Dancing” all follow similar suit: uptempo sex-drenched boogies catchy enough to stick in your head long after the songs are over.
Elsewhere, “You Are My Woman” hearkens back to ’70s-era Thin Lizzy, with Jones’ enunciation unabashedly similar to Phil Lynott’s, and “Diamond Lady” evokes hints of Van Halen’s classic “Romeo Delight.” Throughout it all, Jones’ rhythm section of John Calabrese and Rich Knox lay down an unshakeable foundation that dares you to not rock out with the band.
Most albums of this nature throw in a ballad or two, aiming for some gratuitous radio airplay, but not Wild Cat. There’s no let-up anywhere from Jones, although the themes of the songs would fit in with slower material. When we get to the final song on the record, “Revolution But Then We Make Love,” that’s as close to a curve ball as we’re offered. It’s almost a protest song with a caveat: go ahead and change the world, but don’t forget about the sex.
Danko Jones is Canada’s answer to Volbeat, and on Wild Cat he and his band give us 40 minutes of light-hearted, no strings attached, good old-fashioned hard rock. There’s nothing here that’s going to change the world, and that’s the point: listen to Jones’ message, rock out and make love.
(released March 3, 2017 on AFM Records)