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Fabulous review of the new Jac Dalton album ‘Powderkeg’

Jac Dalton – Powderkeg


From the reverberating synth-line, full band build up and burst of six-string soloing within the first few bars of opening number ‘Powderkeg,’ you’d be forgiven for thinking you knew exactly where the title track of Jac Dalton’s latest release was leading the album – straight to the heart of hard melodic rock with all the power, swagger and clichés the 21st century variant of the genre can bring.

If that’s what heavily and melodically rocks your world, you’re going to love what the big voiced Australian (Dalton was born and raised in North Carolina before calling Adelaide home) delivers on the welcome-to-the-show styled number, from the full-on sonics, unfettered guitar lines, big chorus vocals and the “set to explode…
like a powderkeg!” punch-line.

But while ‘Powderkeg’ the song certainly makes an impact it doesn’t tell the whole story of Powderkeg the album.
Jac Dalton’s third solo offering may follow in the musical footsteps of predecessor Icarus but it’s making its own tracks by carrying a lot more light, shade and hefty chunks of contemporary rock across its eleven songs than the opening number’s chest pounding anthem to heavy melodic rock would suggest.

‘Blow Me Away’ and ‘Roll with the Punches’ fuse heavy AOR with contemporary hard rock (as well as delivering simple but effective choruses) while ‘Can’t UnRock Me’ is a swaggering big slice of bluesy-styled rock that complements both the melodically injected but similarly weighted ‘Let it Go’ and the slower, heavy blues of ‘When I’m Alone With You.’

‘Just Enough to Believe’ is Jac Dalton and band in modern-era Journey territory, but lyrically and retrospectively nodding to fellow Oz rocker Rick Springfield while setting themselves firmly in melodic rock airplay mode.
For fans of classic rock there’s a fairly faithful to the original cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Sweet Emotion,’ the latter a great fit for the guitar-led rock tone of the album and Dalton’s voice.

For change of pace there’s the cry for freedom power of the semi-anthemic ‘One Heart / One Land,’ a song that is revisited at the end of the album as a Bonus Track entitled ‘Chloe’s Song’ (an acoustic take of ‘One Heart / One Land’ that retains the almost gospel-styled vocal backings).

All of which means Powderkeg is an explosive little album – and Jac Dalton’s best album to date.

Ross Muir

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