Jack of Heart
Psychedelic fuzz and snotty attitudes make for a bonkers live show.
A language barrier might be to blame, but it's difficult to figure out French garage-scuzz sorcerers Jack of Heart. The band, who hit the Frequency on Jan. 13, do have a big catalog and a bonkers live show, both of which give some clues. And these clues make it possible to reverse-engineer a recipe for Jack of Heart's magic potion of punk, rock, psych and glam.
A healthy dose of Jay Reatard
Jack of Heart take an unhinged approach to garage rock, one that makes steam hiss from the seams. The band brashly jangle, chug and stomp through short and trashy tunes. It's similar to the ferociously catchy stuff the late Jay Reatard packed into Blood Visions. "F.I.O.N.A.," off Jack of Heart's U.S. tour 7-inch, is a supremely bratty thrasher that escalates beyond the two-minute punk wheelhouse and branches out into menacing animal shrieks over an extended psychedelic outro.
A dash of the Cramps
Invoking voodoo spirits and giving off midnight sÃ©ance vibes seems almost as natural for Jack of Heart as it was for the Cramps, the classic garage creeps who took pride in playing live at a mental institution and firing up the patients. On their 2011 Eureka EP, Jack of Heart toss in a version of the Groupies' "Primitive," a song the Cramps are credited with canonizing. If "Just Want to Kill You" off Jack of Hearts' 2011 LP Only Seven Inches for Your Girlfriend? sounds like a crusted-up take on the Cramps' sleazy "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," know that it's likely on purpose.
A pinch of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
It's a smart move to dress cool when you're putting on a hot, shambolic live concert. Jack of Heart does so by wearing delightfully breathable women's lingerie. The band's onstage ensembles -- fishnet tights, breeches and chemises -- come straight out of Dr. Frank N. Furter's boudoir. It's a sweet transvestite look that mixes nicely with the face-searing guitars of "JOH Jett III" off 2011's In Yer Mouth. It's also a confident move from a crazy band.