Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Jolt - The Jolt - 1978

Best remembered for their smartly suited, tightly riffing contributions to the late-'70s mod revival, the Jolt were, in fact, one of the few bands who not only straddled the divide between classic punk and that more specialist sound, they were also the only ones who could give label- (and genre-) mates a run for their money. Debuting in late 1977 with the sparkling "All I Can Do" single, the Scottish band barreled through the new year, redeveloping their sound as adroitly as Weller and company ever did, and drawing from many of the same archetypes as well -- a virtue proven by their second single, a sterling cover of the Small Faces' "Watcha Gonna Do About It." Punk in a parka had never sounded so fresh. By the time of their self-titled debut album, however, the Jolt were already consigned to dwell in the Jam's lengthening shadow, a fate that the band themselves seemed to encourage. The best tracks on the album were those that could have sprung from Weller's pen -- and that is precisely where they did get "See Saw," the finest song among the eight bonus tracks appended to the Captain Oi! reissue. The B-side to Jolt's final single, "Maybe Tonight," the song was written for the band by the Jam man himself. But there is so much more to Jolt than an adrenalin rush of Jam-isms. Noisy, exuberant, eminently danceable and absolutely exhilarating, Jolt is the sound of mod at its most potently creative, a record that could have been made in 1965, but was certainly remixed in 1978, to take into account all that had happened since then. Even more importantly, the passing years have chipped none of that original excitement away, and Jolt remains just that...a welcome, thrilling jolt. -AMG