Gentlemen Jackals

Scottish Alt/Indie Rockers Gentlemen Jackals have come to our attention with their new EP “The Open Door within Your Minds”, and we at RR Towers have the pleasure in reviewing it. Five tracks, brimming with energy and power. “Heathens and Broken Hymns” opens this collection with a phrenetic drumbeat before a clear and confident vocal kicks in. That vocal style (to me) is very 80’s Electro/Indie, matched to a guitar style also of that era. Multi-layered and never staying in one place the guitars become clangy towards the neat song ending – a great opener.

With its follow up “Preacher’s Son” one could be forgiven thinking there’s a common theme here, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This time around there’s a Rockier feel and again harking back to the 80’s with noodling and chunkier guitar notes. The stretched nature of those chords compliments the vocal style as it breezes along nicely. The bridge, however, is hard and heavy and there’s great use of keys/effects for balance. It then accelerates to its conclusion but at no point disappoints.

Gentlemen Jackals

I’ll assume “Out Of Reach” is an ode to a lover/partner with its heartfelt lyrics and emotion, set to a chiming guitar sound. Brutally honest and clearly written with one person in mind I’ll hazard a guess it’s autobiographical rather than fiction. Unfussy drums in the background amid the “woahs”, but itís the chiming chords that steal the show here. I can’t help but wonder if U2 are an influence, such are the notes peppered around the mid-section of the song. The chimes then return with the heavy cymbal hitting and another fine ending ensues.

“Wisdom to the Wise” ups the ante with some clicky beats and drums before a radio-friendly vocal comes to the fore. I love the bass and the experimentation in the bridge and once again a nod to U2. “Waiting for the Day” is similar to its predecessor and that staple chiming guitar is ever present. The bass is subtle while the vocal then becomes the main focus. The bridge is multi-layered yet so clean sounding before the vocal subtlety returns.

Gentlemen Jackals

On hearing these songs (U2 aside) one band kept coming into my head – from the 80’s “Then Jericho”. The similarity is unavoidable but clearly not deliberate. And while I haven’t sighted their own influences I guess we all hear different bands/influences in these songs. With the Sound Waves Music Competition Final just around the corner, this is their time to shine. What strikes me about this band is how well produced these songs are – this is no rough demo, these songs sound like they could be played on daytime-radio and competing with the current crop of similar artists. If this is for starters then they’ve set the bar very high indeed. Next Big Thing’s? You bet!

Heathens and Broken Hymns
Preachers Son
Out of Reach
Wisdom to the Wise
Waiting for the Day

Band members
Mark Wilson – Guitar and Vocals
Craig McMahon – Lead Guitar
Scott Thomson – Bass and Backing Vocals
Douglas Harden – Drums



Review by Ross A. Ferrone.