JAILBIRDS - The Great Escape (Album)



Northern Ireland as we already know has a thriving hard rock scene, full of talent and energy that spills across the sea to the UK shores for every possible festival, or short tour. So, it’s good to see their southern neighbours aren’t going to be left behind in this new wave of classic rock.

The band came together when the McDonald brothers uprooted themselves from their native Australia, and moved to Dublin. Shortly after hooking up with a couple of like-minded local musicians, JAILBIRDS were formed, and their debut EP ‘Break the Silence’ was launched in 2016. Tours and festivals followed, before catching the eye of Australia’s biggest independent label, Golden Robot Records. This put the band in good company, along with stable mates Rose Tattoo, and The Lazys, and leads us up to the recent release of their first album, ‘The Great Escape’.

The band explain the title themselves: “‘The Great Escape’ is a fitting name for what we are going through as a band, the desire to escape being at the bottom of the pit only starting in this gigantesque musical realm that exists today. It’s about the challenges that a band faces in its beginnings, the frustrations and the barriers you encompass, the journey of wanting to rise up, going from unknown to known and all the exterior negativity that accompanies it.

This album takes those challenges head on under the form of what we see as pure hard rock. Although ‘The Great Escape’ deals with these struggles, it was also written purely for the love of music and the hard rock genre. It’s a style of music we all grew up with and can identify with, a form of music therapy to our ears.”

The album consists of eight fast paced, hard rocking, balls to the wall rock ‘n’ roll, no airs or graces, just what you’d expect from a band with their background and tastes. Don’t be fooled by the gentle acoustic start to the albums’ title track, it roars to life after fifty seconds into a pile driven, teeth rattling, bone shaker. This sets the standard for what’s to come, no mercy given, and no prisoners taken. 

‘Loose Cannon’ and ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ have echoes of those other brothers from down-under (via Glasgow) with heavy riffs, and tongue in cheek lyrics. ‘Shadow of Love’ has a heavy blues rhythm right from the start, with relentless drums pounding out a beat as serious as a heart attack. Axel was never a choirboy, his vocals are loud and throaty, perfect for this hard rock outfit, even the backing vocals are harsh and growly in the background.

Straight up melodic rock is also a feature through this album, as in ‘Thrill of the Chase’ with it’s catchy, sing-a-long chorus. In contrast to this, ‘Underdog’ is a darker heavier track, with a touch of blues guitar, and a drum beat like a wooden legged pirate playing hopscotch on the poop deck. Like a tribute to ‘Hells Bells’, ‘Fight or Flight’ starts with a solitary guitar and a quiet background riff, but soon kicks into a thunderous, in your face, monster. The final track is a collision between Airbourne and Iron Maiden. ‘The Pilot’ flies in as a ninety mile an hour guitar fest of hard metal.

JAILBIRDS will be playing on the Sunday at Bloodstock Festival which takes place at Catton Park, Walton on Trent, Derbyshire from August 8th through 11th, where they will be sharing the bill with the likes of Scorpions, Queensryche, Dee Snider, Hypocrisy, Sabaton, Ross the Boss, The Lazys and more

If you love Aussie rock, with a dash of Irish mixed in, this is definitely the band for you!
”so crank up the volume, stick the speaker to the wall, and shove some hard rock down your neighbour’s throat’”


Track list: 

1. The Great Escape

2. Loose Cannon

3. Nothing Good Lasts Forever

4. Shadow of Love

5. Thrill of the Chase

6. Underdog

7. Fight or Flight

8. The Pilot

Jailbirds are:

Axel McDonald, vocals/guitar

Ed Orr, guitar

Jamie Trimble, bass

Jay McDonald, drums