The self-titled EP Jon & His Friends by Jon & His Friends is a collection of heavy garage rock that dips its toes into some blues and punk along the way. It's not hard to appreciate what the four piece band from Hamilton, Ontario bring to the table. The songs while not the most innovative music to come out this year contain visceral, cathartic explosion of sounds that are often undeniable powerful .
“I Can’t Change (Bad Riff Blues)” opens the EP with a Howlin’ Wolf meets Tom Waits groove, though with cleaner vocals. The band has some great grit and aggression to their playing, giving a lot of energy and immediacy to the song. The solo in particular is stunning, channeling some Mike Bloomfield within it. The last verse has a great variation to the feel, giving a great evolution to the sound of the track.
“Second Best” is a rough and tumble garage rocker channeling some early Nirvana. With fuzzed out razor like guitars building a thick texture over loud crashing cymbals, the song really has lots of edge to it swirling the sound into what could be an old smoky club. The ending is a bit sloppy but fits into the overall milieu.
“She’s Gone” rides along a descending chord pattern almost like a White Album-era Beatles song. The instrumental interlude however moves more towards harder rock with thrashing guitars and cymbal hits. The breakdown towards the middle is a nice contrast and shows off some tasteful snare and bass work. The dynamic build throughout the song works nicely, building a slow burn over the course of the track until the final release at the end.
“I Hope You Die” contrasts a clever chord melody against the vocal melody giving some great support and interest to the riff. Eighth note build ups and drum flourishes are sprinkled into the groove here and there adding to the grit before a rapid metal solo rips through the sound.
Overall the EP is a lot of fun with some great rock n’ roll that is played with reverence and strength.
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