Woke up this morning thinking I might be dead. Went to the kitchen and found the Frosties but not the milk. Looked for the Nescafe and there was none. Decided, as a last resort, to play Joe Viterbo’s album “The Jakey Shakes” – the very title had a remarkable resonance for my then current physical condition – and suddenly I was alive again. Off to the offie for four cans and a bottle of monk’s magic and it was business as usual.
So, I hear you say, can Joe Viterbo’s music really bring a person back from the dead? I doubt that there has been adequate scientific investigation into the matter and yet, even without actual facts, these east coast ska-rockers must surely be able to reanimate even those whose career prospects were limited to a being extras on The Walking Dead or elected representatives in the Palace of Westminster.
Joe Viterbo are a robust band with an excess of the kind of kinetic energy that transfers well in the live environment yet there is more than enough added extras to make their imprisonment on the spinning disc equally rewarding. There is, for a start, their offbeat sense of humour with even urban legends like the Bay City Rollers taking a good natured kicking (“The Ballad of Eric Faulkner”) and, as for “The Queen of Glenrothes”, the song, despite the resolute bleakness of the lyrics, is more uplifting than the town ever was or will be.
It not all maximum speed and minimum subtlety though as “The Village Idiot” demonstrates with its unexpectedly eloquent keyboard intro neatly counterpointing the manic remainder of the song. That, perhaps, is the secret of this band’s success for “The Jakey Shakes” is full of clues that this a band with more musical tricks than a politician has lies and, for that quality alone, they deserve to be favourably compared to current Scottish local heroes Colonel Mustard and The Dijon Five.
Play loud. Drink more beer. Get “The Jakey Shakes”. It’s inevitable.