He may not wield a chainsaw, but Nigel Dupree is very much his father's son. His band's debut record, Attraction, sounds a lot like what you'd expect from the offspring of Jackyl's lead singer. It's not clear there's much public demand for Jackyl Jr. or Jackyl Lite, but if there is, The Nigel Dupree Band's Attraction will certainly scratch that itch.
Jackyl was often lumped in, a little unfairly, with the hair bands of the '80s. In response, the band's defenders pointed out Jackyl's raw guitar tone, heavily blues-influenced riffs, and Southern-rock influence. Nigel splits the difference: His voice is essentially a cross between his father's and a stereotypical hair-metaller's, and while his backing band never fails to work up a good bluesy stomp, the gritty grooves come as much from Mötley Crüe as from AC/DC. This is unabashed party metal.
And it's damn good party metal, at that. In an age where few can play outrageous, goofy rock 'n' roll without first lacquering every riff with a coat of irony, Nigel and his co-conspirators shamelessly thrash out songs with titles like "Shake It Hot" and "Love Machine." It's almost impossible to hear Attraction without smiling. You tell yourself you're just basking in the absurdity of it all, but in fact, you just like it.
The record's strongest tracks come at the beginning: "Late Night Girl," "Rock and Roll," and "Sexy Little Thing" all feature great choruses and catchy, simple riffs. "Have You Ever" and the aforementioned "Shake It Hot" are excellent as well, and "Too Hot to Handle" boasts an unapologetically Judas Priest-like riff. Don't be fooled, though. These tracks may stand out, but the record as a whole is a joy to listen to, front to back.
The only minor flaw is that the band's style is a bit too consistent. Each and every song is a mid-tempo rocker with crunchy, octane-fueled guitars and an anthemic chorus. That's fine for a ten-song album (especially when all ten songs are this good), but they'll have to change things up if they're aiming for any kind of longevity. Even Jackyl started writing the occasional country song on their sophomore effort, after all.
-- Robert VerBruggen is a National Review associate editor.
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The Nigel Dupree Band - Attraction