Having first encountered Joe Jermano via the cooler, west coast grooves of Reaching For Clouds, I wasn’t quite prepared for the onslaught of raw guitar that greets you as you head into the album. However once you realise that Joe comes with a side order of rock and roll and you get your ears and your expectations recalibrated, you can just sit back and let the album wash over you. And to be honest after the opening salvo, which is hell of a way to open an album and grab your attention, Losing Sleep soon finds its stride in a cool heartland rock, Americana…call it what you will…sort of delivery.
And it is this balancing act between boisterous stadium rock and more deft and finely wrought, often jazz and blues infused sounds. that creates the album’s selling point. Whilst the titles might suggest that there is something hippyish running through the Joe’s creative approach,… dreams and clouds etc. make no mistake, musically he rocks with the best of them. The bigger rock numbers such as World On Fire remind me somewhat of David Lee Roth in his solo heyday, the same blend of Vai-esque guitar intricacies and west coast swagger, but Jermano has a lot more to talk about than cars and girls and certainly most of the songs are more musically considered without ever losing their bite.
Dream Control plays it big but shimmers rather than shocks driving on a slightly arabesque groove, Witching Hour matches widescreen dynamics with mid-paced deliveries for maximum drama and the title track takes us down a bluesy bar room rabbit hole.
It’s a great collection of songs, a collection that I half expected to be more chilled out that it actually is but more than grateful to have my expectations subverted on this occasion. If you want rock with a bit of lyrical depth, rock that gets the job done but spends its time getting the perfect finish, rock which sounds like past glories running into future potential, I am happy to tell you that Joe Jermano is the guy you have been looking for all these years.