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Jackson United - Western Ballads (Cover Artwork)

Jackson United

Jackson United: Western BalladsWestern Ballads (2005)
Magnificent

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
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Contributed by: Tim-PunkInternationalTim-PunkInternational
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Chances are, you're a pretty big fan of one of the bands Chris Shiflett plays or has played in over the years. Foo Fighters, No Use For A Name, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, and even the enigmatic Viva Death comprise his resumé. Under the name Jackson United, he steps up as a frontman in his own rig.
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Chances are, you're a pretty big fan of one of the bands Chris Shiflett plays or has played in over the years. Foo Fighters, No Use For A Name, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, and even the enigmatic Viva Death comprise his resumé. Under the name Jackson United, he steps up as a frontman in his own right, and lays down a bunch of really solid pop songs. Pop without the "punk" suffix attached to it, that is; Western Ballads specializes in the sort of light and bouncy rock tunes that made the 90's a fun time to grow up in. In tracks like "Fell Into" and "All The Way" I'm hearing the kinds of melodies that Weezer forgot how to make in between 1996 and 2001, combined with the mature sweetness of the first Fountains Of Wayne album or the Lemonheads at their peak. There's a good chunk of Western Ballads that's as good as anything in the 90's alternative scene.

I wouldn't say consistency is one of Jackson United's strong points, though. The really good tracks stand so far out compared to the rest of the album that a lot of it looks pretty dull. Part of the problem is Chris Shiflett's frontman persona. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but now I think I got the right word: He's too meek. It works well in the case of a nice harmony, but for the most part I want to urge him to assert himself more, especially when it comes to the quieter songs (a generalization of the back half of the album, really) there is clearly something missing.

Western Ballads is most worth owning if you were, and still are, a fan of the alternative boom. You just have to be able to appreciate the softer stuff as much as the few pop masterpieces.

[originally written for Punk International]

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Joseph (November 3, 2006)

I just wish the songs from the EP that are on the CD were actually re-recorded for the CD. It'd make the EP more worth owning (though it's already rare as all get-out because of the name thing).

Anonymous (June 28, 2005)

Have they released that on any CDs?

Kenjamin (June 25, 2005)

can you send me that cover of kiss the bottle?

Anonymous (June 25, 2005)

Score is for the Foos' cover of Kiss The Bottle, with Shiflett on lead vocals

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

yeah so, speaking of pete parada, what's his relation to ernie?

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

"Scott should never of left STD"

Ummm...Scott, the bass player, was in Face to Face. Face to Face broke up. Scott is no longer playing with Jackson. Pete, the drummer, is in Saves the Day. Pete is still in Saves the Day. Pete is no longer playing with Jackson either.

bemused (June 24, 2005)

The ep-when they were still Jackson, was pretty dull considering the pedigree of ex-members. Scott should never of left STD

-Chris-

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

I loved the EP.

Hook me up Inspection.

- Kirby (I'll lose to you in Halo) Puckett

Anonymous (June 24, 2005)

This is only just getting released in North America? It was out like this time last year here in Australia. Strange for an American band to do that.

blaubs21 (June 24, 2005)

i was expecting better from this in all honesty. too many slow songs.

Inspection12e (June 24, 2005)

I got this cd and it's kind of so-so. I liked the ep better.

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