Jacks of All Trades

A small yet devoted crowd came to The Railway Club on Thursday for the CD release of the Oneyedjacks, one of the staples of Vancouver’s punk scene since the early 2000s.

The band had come out to show they’d outgrown the straight punk clothing of their 2005 debut album YARRR! in favour of a more bluesy getup incorporating keys, harmonica and even the odd trumpet break. Yet, the songs taken from their newest release, aptly titled Back From the Dead, still evinces the same guttural core and DIY rigour of the band’s former incarnation.

Riff-heavy songs like “Two Trains” and “56 Bucks” brought the band’s new harmonica-twinged sound to the fore, as well as the scattered audience members up out of their seats. But thanks to frontman Sean Strome’s still healthily raspy vocals, the Oneyedjacks’ punk roots were on full display as well.

Openers 88 Mile Trip had a decidedly more heavy metal sound. Audience members with hip-length hair and possibly nostalgic for Mustaine-era Metallica definitely got their fix.

The second band, Harem of Men, was more in line with what the Oneyedjacks would offer, mixing gritty guitar amplification with bluesy strains emanating from the saxophone and clarinet.

More foot-shuffle than headbang, Harem of Men was a fitting introduction to the Oneyedjacks’ new blues wardrobe. But for all the Oneyedjacks’ self-conscious glances at the electric blues of the seventies, on Thursday night it was still their punk stitching that held together this new rock outfit.