Jailcat - Men or Mice

Jailcat Men or Mice
Men or Mice
Steel Gallery Records
I was introduced to Jailcat, a short while ago, via their eponymous EP, which I had found quite good actually, a band showing lots of promise and nifty ideas with musicians giving a damn about their craft first and popularity second. They’ve been doing this for almost a decade and it shows. For their proper debut album, they did take it to next level… they wrote a bunch of great tunes and took em to Grammy-nominated producer Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore), a lovely person and a great producer, with a really broad spectrum of collaborations in pop and rock. They flew to Ecology Rooms in Kingsdown (Kent, England) just a few miles away from Dover, (in a lovely environment) and finished the production of some 10 songs that can be found on their debut album “Men or Mice. John Scrip gave the final touch at Massive Mastering (Chicago, IL) and it’s easy to see, how the band just managed to grow in strides since the EP some five years ago.
“Men or Mice” is a modern rock album that manages to successfully update the old hard rock sounding, into a more nu-breed style, with down-tuned guitars that give it volume and punch and vocals that sound sufficiently commanding and fit the style very well, with a streetwise charm that also picks the best of sleazy/grungy and even a bit of punk sneering to sound like a metalized version of Ratt or good ole Britny Fox, doing Metallica, or Buckcherry with actually good songwriting... I know what describe is a little odd at best, but trust me the songs sound a lot better than I describe em.
From the opening kick of “Addicted to Lies” with its excellent melodic chorus, to the hard hitting “Goodfellas” that sounds like a more rock-oriented Adranaline Mob, or the quite massive, “Speak My Mind” that succeeds in doing what JSS often fails to do with his “JSS/SOTO” project, ie a more down tuned version of him that still rocks, he often misses the point of doing that over a good set of songs, these guys, really don’t add the “grunge” just to roughen up the sound, they mean business… and they rock like nobody’s business in the punchy and edgy “When Patience’s Gone”...
“Burning Bridges” is another fine example of good songwriting, a nice ballad that doesn’t have to try too hard to get it’s point across…
“Life is Calling” breaks down to something melodic quasi-ballad but gritty as well, in an interesting twist of things…
“For the Last Time” picks up the relative slack, of having two slower songs in a row and is pretty interesting in how it doesn’t change the tone, all melodic and melancholic, without sounding too depressive at the same time…
“O.F.A.A.F.O.”, stands for the mouthful that “One For All/All For One”, is a melodic and defiant mid-tempo that flows nicely in a somewhat more rock n roll-ish fashion.
“Infallible” sounds like someone took a Bon Jovi track and added some “balls” to it. It’s a ballad, but albeit one with a 3 day beard… (lol) none of the hipster shite, but not clean cut, either… the only track I didn’t quite get, straight away, is the very 1-2ish and almost punk edged, “Mice” that sounds quite out of place, with a style that’s closer to Buckcherry, I guess… than anything else.
Still “Men or Mice” is a very good, well produced and contemporary sounding, without denying it’s “heritage” but instead wearing it proudly on its sleeve. The best of both worlds really.