The shoulderbrain is a bit of an anomaly. You won’t find it in your textbooks and your doctor will cock an eyebrow if you ask him to point it out. But just because the medical world doesn’t know about it doesn’t mean it can’t exist. It can. It does.
I know because I’ve felt its effects and have been forced to follow its command. I bet you have, too. Anytime some music comes on and you find yourself moving, from a head bop to a shoulder sway to a tap of the foot, that’s your shoulderbrain taking control. You can’t fight it. You have to listen and you have to get into the groove.
I’m thinking Jackpot Donnie knows about the shoulderbrain. They must. How else could you explain their new EP, New Mode, tickling it the way it does? This sort of thing doesn’t happen by coincidence. These guys built their music to make us move.
From the opening riff of On the Mend to the final upstrokes in Oblivious Sunday, New Mode kept me in motion. I’d even go so far as to say it turned me into that curious guy who was doing a little dance on the subway. Oops.
I certainly caught more than a couple looks when the reggae-infused rhythms of Room to Improve connected with my shoulderbrain. The side-to-side head bop will do that.
Their smooth reggae-teasing touch is carried through on other songs. Ponzi, Daybreak, and New Mode all give a wink to the upbeat uprising and the band’s blues and funk influences.
Now, I hear you. You thought Jackpot Donnie was a rock band. “Where the hell’s the rock?” you’re asking. Great question. Seriously. Great question. And I want you to know the rock is in there. Listen to Renegade Revolutionary and you’ll be taken back to that high school party where you and your friends crushed beers and threw your bodies around with devil horns in the air.
I’m not going to lie to you. This isn’t the greatest album ever made. It won’t rub your sore muscles or add a couple extra inches to your shaft. But it’s full of good tunes that will get in your head and make your shoulderbrain happy.
Isn’t that why we listen to music in the first place?