Jackals is the second release from San Diego-based band Wicked Tongues (a self-titled EP was released in 2013), and with three tracks it’s an EP that is rollicking, dirty, and bluesy as all get-out. The band quotes influences like Rival Sons, Led Zeppelin and Myles Kennedy, and that kind of “classic rock steeped in blues and soul”-vibe does come through strongly in the music.
First track “Electric” is a great introduction to the band’s sound: sizzling hot and passionate vocals from front-man Mason Betsch, and a sexy-sweaty-swaggering rock sound with lots of thick and brawny guitar, and an edgy roughness that gives the music some real live heat, as well as a vigorous heartbeat.
On the title-track “Jackals” the band spins and twists and weaves together a terrific blues-rocking tune with a thumping beat, a sweet bass-line, and some swinging guitar work. Betsch really knows how to work those pipes, and the tune gets some real sparkle from the free-flowing musical jam backing him up here.
My favourite track on Jackals is the last one: “Wild Sadie”. It starts out with a beautifully soft feel to both the vocals and the music, and then amps up the energy with some fuzzy, rowdy guitar and crashing drums breaking through. There’s a seductively dreamy, glimmering vibe to this tune, both in its softer moments and the heavier interludes – making it a real standout for me. The slower, throbbing beat; the dark undertow of the bass below those hot-blooded vocals; and that loose, flowing guitar all adds to the beauty of it. I especially love the guitar and bass work here as Michael Conway and Ryan Shaw let loose together – in fact, the whole band really lays it on the line and it’s fantastic stuff.
Wicked Tongues has swagger, talent and style galore, and the band shows a real ability for coming through with something unique. There’s an edginess to their lyrics that adds a measure of originality to their work, and the band is at its very best on Jackals when they really release that glorious, unfettered on-stage energy.
This EP has a raw and gutsy quality to it, but that is a source of strength rather than a weakness, giving the material a real boost of life. Jackals is my first taste of Wicked Tongues, but I will definitely be back for more.
Jackals is available on Bandcamp – just name your own price.
- Wild Sadie
- Michael Conway-Guitar
- Mason Betsch-Vocals
- Ryan Shaw-Bass
- Elias Berlinger-Drums