Jack's Smirking Revenge - Order/Disorder (Cover Artwork)

Jack's Smirking Revenge

Order/Disorder (2011)


Alex Pelissero started recording his own music under the moniker Jack's Smirking Revenge around 2008 and pressed 25 copies of his first EP, Bitter Songs for Bitter People, in 2010. He returned with more new material in 2011 with Order/Disorder and Sluttering in quick succession and continues to release weekly songs through Jack's Smirking Revenge's Facebook page. The Boulder, Colo. native creates a unique folk-punk sound finding inspiration in the Clash, Johnny Cash and above all, whiskey. Sounding not unlike Against Me! sans shouting, Order/Disorder presents a rough and unpolished collection of catchy, upbeat and occasionally inspiring punk-addled rock tracks.

Lyrically, Alex is at his best when he sticks to everyday lower-middle-class themes. He shines when he muses about how we sometimes like "skipping work and skipping class" and how we dream about giving "a finger to our landlords" or "punching bosses instead of the clock." However, he does find some success in loftier political themes; the extended metaphor in "1-2-Fuck You Shuffle" is simply brilliant. Along with truly deep hooks and a catchy melody, the opening track calls for the toppling of the "wanna be kings and queens, military aces and their jackasses" instead of "just another shuffling of the deck."

Musically Alex hits his stride with toe-tapping melody infused anthems. Relishing in bare bones simplicity, songs stay to the point but are engaging and accessible. "Get Your Kicks on Route 666" takes some time to build up the tempo from a more contemplative pace for an effective mix-up near the record's end.

An uneven effort, Order/Disorder leaves something to be desired at times. On a few sporadic tracks, Alex's charmingly rough and raw style of vocals and guitar work comes off as just sloppy and unpolished. Some songs also get into trouble when they approach more heavyweight themes and move away from the (more successfully implemented) down-to-earth lyrical style.

Looking at the whole of Order/Disorder, Jack's Smirking Revenge comes out ahead and shows promise for the future. If you can get past the nonexistent production values and a few lackluster or sloppy songs, a rewarding musical experience emerges. Anyone willing to look past Alex's "do it yourself" rawness will discover a host of clever and honest songs with deep hooks and infectious melodies.