Krackerjack – Rock On! (2007, independent release)
- Love’em To Death
- This Heart
- Rock On!
- Blame It On The Little Big Man
- Back Together
- Waiting For Tomorrow
- Hungry Boy
- Too Late
Rasmus Bruun – Bass
Jeppe Christensen – Drums
Claus Greve – Organ/Keyboards
René Mikkelsen – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Allan G. Pedersen – Vocals
Produced by: Ole Vedel & Krackerjack
Total Time = 51:02
Krackerjack is a Rock band from Denmark and have a ’70s Classic Rock sound that is very melodic and full of chunky guitar riffs, solid drumming, and a Deep Purple styled organ play. On first listen to ROCK ON!, Krackerjack’s third record, I couldn’t help but double check the date on the back of the tray card. Was this really released in 2007 or more like 1977? The sound is a blend of ’70s legends (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, and UFO) and some of the early ’80s AOR/Rock greats (Great White, Survivor and Night Ranger), dominated by the guitar and organ. The overall music sound is bluesy Hard Rock (like UFO) with the thick David Coverdale style pipes of Allan G. Pedersen, the Jon Lord influenced keyboards of Claus Greve, and the blues-based guitarwork of René Mikkelsen. Right away the songs sound dated but there is an air of freshness to them because they are so straight forward Rock. The comparisons to UFO, Purple, & ‘Snake are easy to make but I also mentioned Great White, Survivor and Night Ranger. If you stripped away the prominence of the organ, and if Pedersen had a higher voice, this album could easily fall into the ’80s AOR category. There is plenty of melodies and harmonies in every song along with really catchy lyrics…..it’s fun music. That’s what good AOR is…..fun. With a little production tweak or tonal change in the sound, these songs could be easily msitaken for either band. Krackerjack also has that Hard Rock sound that Great White used for MTV stardom. All in all, it’s a really good blend of sound that bridges one decade to the next.
‘Love’em To Death’ has an AC/DC quality to it with it’s basic riff rock/boogie woogie guitar sound but it sounds like early Whitesnake as soon as Pedersen starts singing. It’s remarkable how much he sounds like Coverdale at his bluesy best. The chorus is catchy as hell and the exchanges between the organ and guitar really give the song a fantastic energy. ‘This Heart’ is a big time radio style ballad that is extremely melodic and takes me back a couple decades when music like this ruled the roost. Same with the title track, it just has that upbeat, melodic, Hard Rock sound that could easily be heard on Rock radio today. I would put this up against the Stainds, Nickelbacks, and Puddles of Mudds of the world any day of the week! I really like the way the guitar and organ play off each other and give the song some depth. One of the longest songs on the album is ‘Blame It On The Little Big Man’ and it’s probably my least favorite. It’s not necessarily a bad song but it just sounds like something all those Nickelbacks and Stainds would put out. You can call it a ballad, even mid-paced if you want, but it’s long and it sounds like too much of the same…..the only thing separating the song from today’s whiney Hard Rock is the key strokes of Claus Greve and a somking guitar solo courtesy of René Mikkelsen.
Krackerjack gets right back on track with the uptempo ‘Lonely’ that features the guitar & organ mirroring each other on the main riff. Good harmonies on the chorus, the organ solo is influenced by the great Jon Lord and maybe even Don Airey, it definitely sounds like a UFO or Deep Purple track. I like the guitar based ‘Back Together’ with it’s cool bass line, solid drumming, and harmonies and the ’70s styled ‘Waiting For Tomorrow’, a ballad rich in the Blues and dripping with emotion. ‘Hungry Boy’ picks things up again but is more of the same as the other rockers on the album, at this point the band is following a formula that works but is getting too familiar. ‘Lullaby’ is another hard rocker but it sounds a little more like ’80s Hard Rock than bluesy ’70s Rock. It’s more melodic, has more harmonies and good spacing between the guitar and keys. I like the ’70s feel to the record but the melodic sense Krackerjack has is a huge plus, it’s what separates them from being too retro. The closer on ROCK ON! is ‘Too Late’ and it’s another one of those long mid-paced/ballad type songs drenched in guitar and organ. It’s a good song, I like it best of all the slow songs, but I expected Krackerjack to end the album on a hot rockin’ note.
A really good record and a nice surprise. I admit that I didn’t expect much from one look at the album cover but that old saying of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is so true. This is a true Rock record that has enough melody, harmony, good songwriting, and musical performances to compete with the more popular Rock bands on the charts. I’m very impressed with Allen Pedersen’s deep melodic vocals and the interplay between the guitar and keyboards. I have always been a big fan of bands that use a Hammond Organ so it’s safe to say that I am jumping on the Krackerjack bandwagon. This is a band to watch! Fans of Deep Purple, early Whitesnake, UFO, and Great White should take notice!
Favorite Songs: ‘Love’em To Death’, ‘Rock On!’, ‘Lonely’, ‘Back Together’