album reviews

The Blackjacks
Midnight on the Floor
Self-released (2009)

Anthony Fiacco's job as house sound guy at Jammin' Java might set some false expectations for the sound of his band, the Blackjacks. While Jammin' Java is known for its folk and acoustic acts, the Blackjacks race out of the gate on their debut release, "Midnight on the Floor," a full-throttle rock album with a strong Tom Petty influence.

With two guitarists (Fiacco and Buddy Speir, formerly of the Echoes), the Blackjacks build a big sound: This is an album that begs to be played at full volume in a car with the windows rolled down. Even on its slower songs, the album bursts with energy; there's no mistaking the seduction behind the swaying power ballad "Situation" or the passion in the chorus of "It's Alright" ("She said it's alright, baby it's alright/One more hour, give me one more night").

The Blackjacks sound like a band that's enjoying itself, from the swooping crescendos on the howling "Karma Lover" to the squealing guitars on "Ticket," whose introduction flirts with the riff from Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher." It's an energy that can't stand still; not only are these well-crafted songs insanely catchy, they're also just plain fun.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 17 April 2009, Page WE07