Lazy Jacks,
Journey's End
(independent, 2002)

Sometimes, my expectations are too high. In a way, that makes it my fault when someone fails to meet them. So, when I tell you that Journey's End by the Lazy Jacks disappointed me, please realize that it's still a pretty good album.

Lazy Jacks is a foursome from Prince Edward Island, and that's the point that shot my expectations high. I am used to hearing excellence to an uncommon degree from musicians hailing from PEI and neighboring Nova Scotia. The standards set by Canada's maritime region are without compare.

But let's be fair, the Lazy Jacks didn't set out to raise the bar in music. As lead vocalist Dave MacDonald explains in their liner notes, this is a party album, a gift to the band's regular crowd. To that extent, it's a good disc, and no one should go home complaining.

The problem for me is, most of these tracks are ordinary. There's nothing thrilling or new about the band's rendition of traditional favorites, such as "Finnigan's Wake," "County Down," "Wild Rover" or "Lord of the Dance." The Lazy Jacks show occasional bursts of originality -- such as their arrangement of "Squid Jiggin' Grounds" and original compositions "Journey's End" and "Say Goodbye" -- but they're buried among selections that have nothing new to say and no fresh means to say it.

If I saw the Lazy Jacks live, I'd probably enjoy this CD more as a musical postcard of a jolly good show -- and I have no doubt the band is a hoot in a live setting -- but for those of us who've never seen these guys play, Journey's End needs more spark to shine.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 27 August 2005