Jared James Nichols - Black Magic album review

Hard-gigging blues rocker overdoes the rock

Cover art for Jared James Nichols - Black Magic album

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Although steeped in blues traditions, Jared James Nichols plays guitar like a new-improved Ted Nugent (i.e. without the Neanderthal politics). For his three-piece’s second full-length album JJ has gone even wilder than on his 2015 debut Old Glory And The Wild Revival. But, disappointingly, in eschewing the nuance and variety of that first album, this one sounds less satisfying.

Over the 10 tracks, he sings well and does ring the changes – most noticeably on the Staxy funk of Honey Forgive Me and the stripped-back swampy blues of final track What Love – but around half of the three-minute blasts here are little more than riffs and solos in search of a memorable tune, and sometimes also even a decent ending.

When he’s good, as on opener Last Chance (an absolute blast, with an insane hammer-on solo) or the toothache-mean Don’t Be Scared, he’s very, very good. But little else on this album holds a candle to those two.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.