I heard a new track from Joker’s Hand a couple of days ago and instantly fell in love. “War Profiteer” had something so sunny about it and I was addicted and had to hear more from this band. Unfortunately, that song was just a single but they did have an old EP out. I know bands change but here’s to hoping that I get that same sunny vibe from this six-song EP!

“Anthem” gets this EP started with a super bluesy guitar part before jumping into a track so full of swagger that it about knocked me off my chair. Although gritty and southern, something about the vocals is so clean and it honestly caught me a bit off guard. This is also a reason that I knew Joker’s Hand was going to be a new favorite of mine. I loved that they clearly refuse to be constrained by any one style or genre and that comes through loud and clear on this opening track. This opening track had me feeling so invincible and ready to take on the rest of this EP with a giant smile on my face.

“Gold Rush” switches the vibe of this EP completely. Although still full of attitude and energy, there’s something a bit more somber about this track. The words lose the gritty element and replace it with something a bit more sensitive and weighted for this song. I struggle to call this a ballad but just based on the two other songs I’ve heard from this band thus far, I’m thinking this may be as ballad as they get which is totally fine by me (as I chug another Red Bull). Just when I was really getting into the heaviness of the words in “Gold Rush”, a psychedelic-styled track took over my speakers and completely caught me off guard.

“D.U.I.” brings back that grit and filthiness heard in “Anthem” but also brings a cool psychedelic organ sound that pops in and out of the spotlight. I’ll be honest, the lyrics about getting pulled over and getting a D.U.I. really did nothing for me but I found myself constantly searching for the sound of the organ throughout this track and before I knew it, the track was done and the mood was shifting yet again as “Madhouse” took over my speakers. This is when I finally got a peek of that sunshine vibe I heard in “War Profiteer”. Although hearing this track right after “D.U.I.” has me wondering if the sunshine element is due to the psychedelic style hidden throughout this EP, I instantly started smiling as “Madhouse” played through. There’s something sexy and sultry about this track while being fun and full of emotion. Honestly, this is such a perfect song that I have no problem calling this my favorite track on the EP before even finishing this listening party.

I hate when bands use sirens to kick off a song, I’ll be honest. Maybe it’s the Iowan in me that instantly feels the need to go and check out the window for a tornado so when “Hijacked” kicked off this song with the sound of a siren, I was a bit annoyed but that annoyance didn’t last. Yet again, Joker’s Hand completely shifts the mood and sound of this EP with this track. This one is an almost reggae-infused hip-hop-influenced track. Definitely not what I was expecting to hear from these guys based on the previous tracks but I definitely wasn’t complaining.

Bringing this EP to a close is “Teenage Ivory” which brings a more pop influence to the forefront while still having hints of the swagger and grit that Joker’s Hand does so well. I really can not stress how amazing it is to see so many different sides of one band within just six songs. Joker’s Hand is a music critic’s dream because you don’t have to figure out how to say the same thing with different words. Of course, right after I say that, I find myself completely lost for words as I left this track play through but it was the best kind of loss of words. It’s the kind you get when you are seriously just so impressed by what you’ve just heard that you really have no words to describe it all. 

You know that joke about midwest weather, right? If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and will change. That’s honestly this EP in a nutshell. If you don’t like a song, just wait three minutes and it will change completely. What a great album!

My Favorite Track(s): “Madhouse”

For Fans Of: Swagger and Grit; All Genres; Surprises

Mosh-ability: 6 out of 10

What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie tried to eat the breadsticks I was snacking on; Autumn waited under me for a crumb to drop

How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8 out of 10

My Overall Rating: 8.4 out of 10

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