The Island Jacks
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The Island Jacks


Band Rock Blues




"The island jacks - Fly By Wire EP review"

Way back in the late 1960s – a lifetime ago – changes in pop/rock music were coming at us faster than the speed of sound. I guess this was somewhat commercially driven, but it’s also true that the proliferation of new technologies and philosophies and revised social, sexual, political and psychological norms were the main factors involved. There was an almost overwhelming to categorise music [as well as everything else] into genres and other forms of stereotype.

One such emerging musical category was the awkwardly named Soft Rock. I guess this was spawned by a movement towards purity and living free of artificial aids and dependence on technology. Hence the use of huge stacks of Marshall Amps was seen as reliant on industrial process and a never-ending supply of electricity – anathema to the Back To The Earth cult current among some [mainly] Hippie Tribes. You get the picture?

Be that as it may… some of the music included [by whom I’m not sure – music journalism’s social commentators, I guess -] in this category would have been the likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers [in the ‘Turning Point’ phase] and America to name but three – so quite a wide variety of musical styles had some of its product forced into this particular round hole. I think Soft Rock’s usefulness was short-lived and the habit of its use, thankfully, soon died out – luckily some of the best music associated with the appellation didn’t.

Anyway, the point of all the foregoing is that the subject of this review, namely The Island Jacks’ Fly By Wire EP would be an excellent candidate for categorisation into the Soft Rock genre. I mean this in a totally positive way. Each track on the CD is so different from any other that any more usual label – blues, folk, prog etc – is quite impossible. The common factor of them is – quite apart from their excellence and tendency to be about self-pity – is that they are all produced in such an unflashy – almost completely, but never detrimentally , understated – way that Soft Rock is the obvious pigeon hole to deposit it in!

Perhaps if I take the album track-by-track, you’ll see what I mean….

Track 1 ‘Rattlesnake,’ almost to prove a point, sort of fades in to reveal a Sting-like voice and lyric – an ode to a betraying lover I think. The Classic Blues/Rock 3-piece line-up of guitar, bass and drums is augmented by beautifully inserted trumpet producing a mournful atmosphere a la mode de Miles Davis.

Track 2 ‘By The River’ is more a bluesy CS&N type thang. Introduced by a squashed bottle-neck guitar theme which is repeated on-and-off throughout. I’d put this into the Stephen Stills bag of composition! – which is quite hard to replicate.

Track 3 ‘Waiting’ is a different type of blues/folk troubadour number with an overriding rhythm suggesting moving on – the wide open spaces hitch-hiker/train-riding liberation associated with a certain style of Country Music.

Track 4 ‘Losing Friends’ does exactly what it says on the tin… A slow ballad very much in the Soft Rock bag. Beautifully produced – an excellent candidate for a shot at the singles chart – not that others aren’t!

Track 5 ‘How It Ends,’ sadly the final cut, is more of a dirge – not quite a talking-blues – more an insight into the singer’s head, sharing his sadness and descent into psychosis… Very emotional – totally effective….

The most disappointing thing about ‘Fly By Wire’ is that there isn’t a lot more of it. Perhaps The Island Jacks can incorporate it into a Concept Album on the theme of desertion and despair – the stuff of all the best art! I wouldn’t even mind if they chose some much heavier tracks featuringthe extensive guitar range of axe-man Nelson Day [on which I’ve reported before – see

Anyway, you will have no doubt gathered from the above that I thoroughly approve of this record by this band and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Go to to give it a listen. No – don’t do that…..

Go to and BUY it!!!!! - Abi Rhodes - Zigzag


1. Fly By Wire

The Debut 5 Track EP - Available from:

2. Rattlesnake

The Debut Single - Available from:

Both available on Itunes etc also.

Further recorded material from the EP sessions is available solely on:

Watch out for the new album soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



The Island Jacks

Based in Brighton, this new six-piece band have begun creating their very own blues, jazz and rock infusion.

Since meeting at the same music college five years ago, all six band members have toured and recorded with other projects and bands in the UK, Europe and South America.

At last in summer 2012, the time was right, and they grouped together to form The Island Jacks, fusing the wealth of their experiences and musical talent into one band.

Currently, they are busy writing, recording and gigging (acoustically and full band) on the south coast and in London, promoting their debut EP "Fly By Wire" and preparing to record a new album on the 9th Match 2013

Their Debut EP "Fly By Wire" and detailed information on the members and history are available from:

(EP also available from all major online distributors)

"I thoroughly approve Fly By Wire and cannot recommend it highly enough" Abi Rhodes - Zigzag

The follow up album is coming this Summer! sneaky previews will be available on:

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