Django Mack - 100 Page Tattoo
Django Mack’s returned with their latest studio release, a half dozen songs on an EP titled 100 Page Tattoo, and the same high artistic level marking their earlier recordings remains intact with this new offering. The EP is produced by lead vocalist and songwriter Brandon Butrick along with bassist Tom Donald and drummer Tim Vaughan; it’s abundantly clear that the band understands themselves well and knows how to highlight their skills in the best possible way. They exhibit a surprising amount of variety considering the limited running time of an EP release and there’s never a second guess or moment of indecision marring the performances. The songs on 100 Page Tattoo sounds like they were worked out well in advance of their recording, but they come across with a gloriously live air despite the obvious overdubs and post production work done to further enhance the release.
The EP’s title song makes for a great opener. “100 Page Tattoo” challenges anyone expecting pure blues or blues rock to adjust their preconceived notions and duly rewards those who can with a wonderfully flexible, powerful R&B and funk workout driven largely by the rhythm section and capped off with an effective vocal from Butrick. His lyrics are equally up to the challenge of a good song and sport a surprising, for newcomers to the band, way with words that makes the experience all the more deeper. The band continues to stay hot for the EP’s second track “Lookout!” and it does an exceptional job of conveying the title’s urgency despite its mid-tempo trajectory. There’s less affectation on Butrick’s vocal, as well, and the relatively clean presentation he provides neatly dovetails with the musical arrangement. “Knock Me Down” takes the band in an acoustic direction, but their love of rock and blues still comes through with a striding chorus and strong verses that sweep listeners into each new refrain. It is quite a contrast with the EP’s obvious primary track “Knife Fight” and Django Mack does an exceptional job of exploiting the potential of this song title without ever lapsing into heavy handed theatrics.
The EP’s final two songs strike a distinctly lighter note. The first, “Roadrunner”, is a love letter to the singer’s favorite car put in the form of a song and the tasty drumming and guitar work alike share its pawing, fun loving spirit despite staying quite moored in the blues idiom. The final track “Rooster in the Henhouse” is another good time romp, much rockier than the earlier cuts, but sufficiently lit up with blues influences that fans of the form will flock to its musical and lyrical turns alike. Butrick’s singing has a strong go for broke quality that’s sure to make new fans for the band and please those who’ve followed them this far. They’ve come a long way, but 100 Page Tattoo serves notice that this band plans on going even further yet.