The Screaming Jets – Gotcha Covered (Album Review)

We’re gonna quickly look over the brand spanking new album from the Screaming Jets titled Gotcha Covered – which as many of you will know, is the eighth full-length album from The Jets.

This is essentially a 15 song collection of covers – which sees the Screaming Jets burning through some of the best rock n roll tunage to ever come out of Australia – in a way which only they can….

I recently did an album review by Bitzer and their Pedigree Mongrel release, where they also do a bunch of amped up covers. Go hunt that down btw cos it kicks arse and now, whilst running through the Gotcha Covered album, it really does slam home the point of how much incredible music has emerged from Australia over the past four of five decades. It’s an embarrassment of riches and I hope that many of you who purchase this new album by the Jets will hunt down the orignal versions, if in fact you are unfamiliar with it.

The band have always had the knack of re-molding another artist’s song and making it their own and I told this to vocalist Dave Gleeson when I chatted with him a few days back – that I’ve met folks over the years – who are unaware that songs like ‘eve of destruction’ and ‘shivers’ are actually not Screaming Jets originals – and that – in my opinion has lots to do with how well they’re covered – how a band interprets a song and what they bring to it….

Now what the Jets bring to this collection of tunes on Gotcha Covered are large amounts of passion and energy – and boy does it show…..

There’s quite an interesting assortment of artists which are given the treatment on Gotcha Covered – everyone from the The Angels and The Easybeats, to AC/DC and Stevie Wright – to the Radiators, You Am I, Australian Crawl, Goanna, Dragon and Hoodoo Gurus. The real interesting choices for me, which I especially loved – were the tracks by Men At Work, Paul Kelly, INXS, Flowers and Radio Birdman.

The album kicks off with a frenetic take of The Easybeats’ Wedding Ring followed on by a faithful and gutsy take of Razors Edge, which was of course recorded by Goanna. If you ever need an example of how adaptable Dave Gleeson’s vocals are – this song, where he at times sounds similar to Goanna’s Shane Howard, is as good as example as any.

Gimme Head by the Radiators cops the Jets treatment and sounds great – but personally – if it was me choosing a Rads song to be covered it wouldve been something like Comin Home or Life’s A Gamble, but I digress…

I just mentioned how adaptable Gleeson’s vocal range is and again, the Men At Work cover – Overkill, really does allow him to shine. For mine – this is one of the real highlights on Gotcha Covered.

We saw the Jets quite early on in their career – around 1990 at Banjo’s in Gladesville in Sydney – and they were one of those bands who had the ability to kick out so much force – so much energy from the stage, that you’d feel yourself being slammed to the back of the venue. After a lifetime of seeing gigs, there’s been only a handful who’ve been able to jolt me like that – and it’s a moment in my rock n roll timeline which I often look back on…No real surprise that in the coming months the band would go on to hit stages in Europe and leave all those who were in attendance – truly blown away. Two songs on Gotcha Covered where much of that power and energy are evident, are AC/DC’s Rock n Roll Damnation, and Radio Birdman’s Aloha Steve and Danno.

As many of you out there may know – the Jets recorded a faithful and glorious rendition of AC/DC’ Ain’t No Fun (Waiting ‘Round to Be a Millionaire) back in the early 90’s and this take of Rock n Roll Damnation is equally as impressive. To be played loud or not at all.

I absolutely love the version of Radio Birdman’s Aloha Steve and Danno which is included here. The backing vocals are spot on – the guitar work is on the money and let’s face it – covering Tek and Masuak’s amazing fretwork is not to be undertaken if you don’t have the chops – but Scott Kingman and Jimi Hocking are both top shelf players who have both honed their skills over many years on the Australian rock scene. Saw Jimi The Human and Spectre 7 in the late 80’s btw who were fantastic – but that story another time. Aloha Steve and Danno is heavy on the keyboards which are often at the forefront and which would no doubt get the green light from Pip Hoyle. This was another highlight on Gotcha Covered and is something which I know many of you will be keen to check out. Take my word for it – it’s a cool take. The road from the Oxford Funhouse in Darlo to Detroit via Newcastle – who knew – Book him Gleeso murder one!

Another of the choice cuts on this 8th offering from the Screaming Jets is Shadow  Boxer. Gleeson obviously knows this Angels tune backwards and inside out – but the version including on this album has a different arrangement, which is really striking – sounds pretty cool to these ears and has that lead heavy Paul Woseen bass driving the tune from start to finish.

The Right Time, by the Hoodoo Gurus is one of the heavist songs in their catalogue – and when the Screaming Jets plug in and stamp their sound over it – you know the results are gonna be loud and impressive.

If I am pressed, my favourite tune on the album could in fact be the cover of Flowers 1980 tune Walls – which I – and many others think is one of the best songs Iva Davies has penned – super super heavy take here by the Jets – listen out for the blast when the first chorus kicks in. I’ve always wanted to hear some one heavy this one up and my prayers have been answered. Turn this sucker up and it may very well crack the ceiling – the windows and the doors….on a tune which rivals the original for power and energy. Love love love this ….

Now the closing track of GOTCHA COVERED, is a ripping version of Stevie Wright’s ‘Guitar Band’, which features 16 of Australia’s best guitar players – in an epic version of this 1974 classic. The song clocks in at over 14 minutes and if you dig loud guitars and blazing solos, thuis one if right up your alley. The guest players on Guitar Band include Rick Brewster, Tim Henwood , Cam McKenzie, Bob Spencer , Dave Leslie , Brett Kingman , Brett Williams and Stuart Fraser to name but a few. Again, something to keep your ears out for, when you get ahold of this album…

Folks, to summarise, Gotcha Covered by The Screaming Jets gets two thumbs up from me, and I know that if you are a fan of the Jets, you’re no doubt gonna grab a copy and add it to your collection. For me, the band have continued their knack of breathing new life into some familiar songs – which is no mean feat. Re-shaping em a little with some Jet powered rock n roll.

The Screaming Jets are always gonna be able to do roaring and superior takes of AC/DC and Angels tunes – as it’s in their DNA. But the really pleasant surprises for me on this album were the interpretations of Birdman’s Aloha Steve and Danno, Walls by Flowers, Men At Work’s Overkill and This Time, which was of course originally cut back in the mid 80s by INXS. For me, these particalar tracks really allow the Jets to shine, and to stamp their distinctive sound all over these tunes – the results of which are very impressive.

If you dig the Screaming Jets I know you’re gonna want a copy of his album, but I reckon that if you’re more of a fan of Australian muisc in general, Gotcha Covered is an album that you will find very very appealing. I think Fathers Day is a few short weeks away too, so if your Dad’s into Oz rock, this one’s a no brainer….

Gotcha Covered has a release date of Friday 27th of July – so make a note of that and be sure to hunt it down.

August and September sees the Jets out on the road on the Rock Radio Riot Tour so please visit thescreamingjets.com.au for dates, venues and ticket info.

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