JACK TOWNES at Dundee Doghouse Friday March 11th


Following on from supports by the adventurous Vladimir and Dundee supergroup, Mass Consensus, Jack Townes make their debut gig this year under their new name at Dundee’s Doghouse.


If bands were cars, Jack Townes would be an Aston Martin to the Libertines’ vintage Mini and the Arctic Monkeys’ souped-up Escort.  Possibly the first British band to bring a twenty first vision of cool to remind us of the clean style and exuberance of the 50s.  This Glasgow’s band (previously named The Controls) create taut poetic emotional structures which astound – more resonant and immediate than the diluted attempts at ‘pop rock’ most signed bands are now desperate to produce. While their peers appear to be trying too hard, Jack Townes would get ‘must make more effort’ on their report card; they appear so totally unruffled and real, the audience just disappears into their cosmos.  Guys and gals are jiving together, swinging round chairs and tables and whooping to the arcs, crescendos and belting hooks. The suave smoothness in both song structure and delivery mark Jack Townes out as different.


After the fury of ‘Make Up’ (longer title at end*), the irrepressible energy and ecstatic joy of ‘Juvenile Smile’ pushes T-Rex’s ‘20th Century Boy’ into oblivion while ‘Hey Jackie’ definitely heralds in a new era. Advice and disappointment has never sounded so stealthily seductive and dangerous.  This band has continuous rock ‘n’ roll songs you can actually dance to…with people.  There’s  the technical engineering beast of ‘Petrol Bouquet’ , which would make a great name for a designer after-shave but its elemental sounds oh-so-much better while ‘Superfly Posterboy’ is an ode to some members’ graffiti urges from the past.  ‘Who Talks Like That’ is a hormonal surge with leadsinger Jack’s anguished voice arching and breaking against Johnny and Andy’s exacting guitars and a bang-on abrupt end. The harmonies and intricate bridges become one with Jack's intense vocal, creating a warmer and fuller feel. This is a well-fuelled animal.


The unique thing about Jack Townes is that they unashamedly produce stylish yet infectious songs. There’s nothing forced, nothing contrived.   With no sniff of a Libertine or Monkey, this is a band with their own style and canned joy who can produce brilliant longass song titles like ‘*To A Politician or a Lover but Hopefully Never Both’ to satisfy muso-analysts. For once though, The Doghouse is not a sweatpit of up-and-downing bodies. There’s genuine dancing going on  - a rocking and vibing without the rockabilly.


Losing ‘The Controls’ as a name was a good move; this car may have enough soul, beauty and power to beat the best. A band with class personality is in town.