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Release Details

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Jacks, Paul

Black Jackal
(Tritone Records)
Release Date: December 4, 2020

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"Black Jackal"

Following up on his critically acclaimed second solo album, In Other Words, multi-instrumentalist and Alaskan, Paul Jacks, explores solitude and his identity in an ever-changing world. The backdrop for his new album, Black Jackal, is an apocalyptic world and its aftermath. Drawing from Egyptian mythology, Jacks takes on a futuristic persona with Black Jackal to explore the transition to the afterlife. According to the writer, the album represents our “journey into the dark to discover the light which has the power to transform us.” The album is full of syncopated synths, electronic pianos, orchestra and brass sections, lush pads, echoey backing tracks, dark harmonies, and a hybrid of live and electronic drums played by both Jacks and Dan Konopka (OK Go). Jacks brings his listeners into a futuristic existential crisis and takes them on a musical journey that touches all of the senses.

Jacks takes heavy influence from 80’s new wave and goth, along with his personal struggles to craft the album. The first five tracks are set in a “pre-apocalyptic state” as well as keeping the traditional A/B side aspect of a physical record, this being Side A. Jacks touches on lunacy, love, loss, lust, and yearning for so much more through the beginning of the end.

To start the album, Jacks digs back into his repertoire with a song he originally wrote in 2003, “Lunacy’s Back.” The song puts listeners in a dreamlike state as we hear trumpets and syncopated synths on this fully orchestrated pop tune. On “No One Else” Jacks summarizes the track as “the feeling that you are truly alone in the world questioning existence at every turn.” It’s a very upbeat track for the lyrical content and takes us deeper into this bleak vision of the world. “The Hunger,” is a smooth and eerie track that takes us right onto the dance floor as Jacks sings “I feel the hunger tonight / Got my blood to a boil / Will you cure me somehow?/ Before I imitate” To finish the A side, “The Quarantine” has us relating to our current state of global pandemic with “You hold on/ To that soft dream/Save your strength/ For what will become.”

Side B examines the aftermath/afterlife of the apocalypse. “Acres of Diamonds” is a melodic and synth heavy track that fills listeners with intrigue as Jacks sings “Acres on the moon / Spinning by themselves /They’re all guaranteed / To start anew / And I long to be free.” Jacks describes it as a futuristic look at the real estate market, where land is scarce and the only property left is on the moon. However, “there is always a twist as something more sinister awaits.” The next track is another orchestrated pop song “Always Something to It.” Jacks explores his reality and deems that this new world “is never what it seems now” questioning us to rethink what is truth. The closing track to the album, “Walk Alone” fills us with hopefulness as well as sadness as a traveler seems to be accepting their new fate of heartbreak and isolation. Jacks gently croons “We could’ve been love at first sight, love at first sight.”

Since 2018, Jacks has fervently pursued his solo artist musical life, leading off with Defractor in 2018, which launched on the same day as the major Anchorage earthquake. This was followed up in 2019, with In Other Words and then Drama Club, a B-side EP from the In Other Words sessions. In 2019, he decided to start releasing singles and run them parallel with his album career, and in 2020, released 4 dual singles, or A/B singles, as he uses this form to explore other musical realms and possibilities. Jacks claims to be highly influenced by literature and usually focuses on certain literary elements in the making of his records. For Black Jackal, Jacks draws upon his passion for dystopic literature with writers such as J.G Ballard, Ray Bradbury, and Philip K. Dick, as well as philosophy, psychology, mythology, and alchemy.

The next step for Jacks would be to support and tour his new album with his band members including previous Asteroid keyboardist Colton Ciufo, guitarist Jason Searle, Drummer Joe Smith, and bassist Franz Schmidt. The pandemic has certainly put a damper on shows at this time but nevertheless, Jacks says “I’m living a very musical life right now regardless of playing out or not, but we fully intend to be playing some shows in the near future including songs from Black Jackal.”


Photos: Maddy Jacks-Green


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Press Contact: Bill Benson

Radio Contact: Adam Morgan or Nelson Wells

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