I unconditionally dug the last OldJack record, 2014’s “What is Home to You,” but the LP’s darkness had a tremendous weight. Darkness and weight have their place (see “Nebraska,” “Blood on the Tracks,” everything by Neko Case), and yet I can’t hide how much I like OldJack’s optimistic rock.
On “Luck and Drive,” Dan Nicklin and his crew meet me halfway. OldJack’s latest album has plenty of rock ’n’ roll introspection, and I would never wish the brilliant shadows away. The hypnotic drone of “The Sea,” with Nicklin’s heartbreaking vocal melody, may be the record’s masterpiece, but it’s also damn nice to hear the Boston band get loud, really loud.
“Ode to a Rock Dove” has the vibe of Brill Building pop spiked with ’70s bar band glory. “Rearview” builds from space rock to a mammoth guitar solo, then recedes only to build up again into a gospel breakdown. “Stars They Shine” absolutely drips with hope and bliss (and Rolling Stones swagger and Southern rock keys).
OldJack will explore the glorious interplay of the light and shade in “Luck and Drive” at the return of its Last Saturdays residency at the Lizard Lounge. The band and guests will be at the Lizard the final Saturday of every month in 2017.