The Screaming Jets – Bitter Pill (2020)

Iconic Aussie rockers, Screaming Jets have released an EP of classic material, slightly re-worked in to acoustic renditions, all recorded during the Covid lockdown.  

Do we need this EP?  Probably not.  

Will we take it?  Absolutely.  

The EP is titled Bitter Pill, and it’s a very good listen from start to finish.  Opening with one of their biggest singles, “Helping Hand” the band sounds laid back, and well and truly locked in with one another.  The pairing of Gleeson on lead vocals and Paul Woseen on backing vocals has long been a winner, but in this acoustic setting, it’s perfection.  Scott Kingmans guitar playing is well thought out as usual – with the little things adding the most to the songs.  

“Shivers” is somehow more full of emotion than ever, and again, boosted by the less is more approach to the guitars, and those vocal harmonies.  It’s amazing how they have managed to capture such feeling considering that all band members are recording from seperate locations.  

One of my favourite Jets numbers is up next.  “October Grey” was always an outstanding, and memorable track, but once again, the band manages to give it a fresh coat of paint, and a new lease of life, without completely changing the original.  

Personally, I would have liked to hear some lesser known deep cuts get a re-working, but in saying that, these songs are all perfectly suited to an acoustic format.  

“Sad Song” is another favourite of mine, and as with all songs that came before, I love the results of the finished product.  It’s not until the closing track that I’m completely blown away though.  “Friend of Mine” probably does qualify as a lesser known track in a lot of ways, but it’s just so good.  Here, Paul Woseen takes lead vocal duties, and proves that he is a tremendous singer in his own right.  

This track is poignant at the moment too – whether it’s covid related or not, we all know somebody who is going through something, and there is such a beautiful message to this song.  Of the five tracks featured “Friend of Mine” is the most different from, and quite frankly, much better than, its original version.  Hands down, the highlight.  

Bitter Pill is the sound of a band of brothers going out of their way to stay connected during a difficult time, and that alone makes this EP worth while.  The fact that the results are so great, is just the icing on the cake. 

9/10

Shayne McGowan. 

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