Never Too Loud (Spec)


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    Never Too Loud (Spec) Bad Taste Records
    1. Never Too Loud Bad Taste Records
    2. Never Too Loud (Ltd) Bad Taste Records
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Review Text Not too many people outside of Canada and Scandinavia seemed to notice, but Toronto-based trio Danko Jones were responsible for some of the most electrifying, ass-kicking, fearsomely focused hard rock of the third millennium's first decade. That being said, after failing to attract a larger audience with two unquestionably stellar albums released through Razor & Tie, the band found itself relegated to smaller indie label Bad Taste for 2008's Never Too Loud, meaning that not even U.S. distribution was a given. Notwithstanding this problematic setback, though, Danko Jones showed they still held an ace or two in their hands by securing the services of hotshot producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, Rush, etc.) to oversee Never Too Loud's sessions, and their new ally seemed to be fan enough to not attempt altering the band's sound, even while helping the group to cast a slightly wider stylistic net beyond its usual Thin Lizzy and AC/DC-fishing grounds. Among the resulting surprises was the acoustic guitar-driven nostalgia of "Take Me Home" and a pair of stoner rock-flavored offerings in the Fu Manchu-like, groove-oriented opener "Code of the Road" and the extended six-minute head nod of "Forest for the Trees" (Danko's longest track ever, by far), which culminated with guest vocals from Kyuss legend John Garcia. Beyond this experimental trio, though, Never Too Loud remained relatively faithful to the familiar Danko Jones sound -- albeit rarely played quite as loud as on prior releases, ironically enough. Sure, the punkish pogo-fest of "Let's Get Undressed" and the raging hormones of teenage fantasy "Still in High School" both recalled some of the band's wilder, earliest outbursts, and impertinent challenges like "Your Tears, My Smile" and "Something Better" confirmed the enduring chip on eponymous frontman Danko Jones' shoulder. But the mellower, melody-ridden "King of Magazines" and "Ravenous" definitely valued quality over quantity, and both the album's worst and best offerings paid serious dues to the band's chief influences, the closing title track collapsing under the weight of dull repetition (akin to AC/DC's least inspired latter-day songs) while first single "City Streets" reached for the heavens of perfection with that glorious blend of crunchy riffs and longing melodies (the very same ones that earned Thin Lizzy's Philip Lynott his angel's wings). And so, somewhere between the same ol' and brand new, the disappointing and sublime, Never Too Loud proved to be yet another enjoyable LP from Danko Jones, despite ranking just a notch below their most recent triumphs. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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