Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Jaill - That's How We Burn (Sub Pop)

For their first release with major indie label Sub Pop, Jaill sound like they've spent a long time studiously honing their sound for the appraisal of the kind of audience such an accolade might attract. To simplify: Jaill sound like they're trying too hard. Perhaps this is something of a cynical assumption to make about the band, but I'm pretty convinced that, had I listened to That's How We Burn with no prior knowledge of the Milwaukee quartet's road to success, I still would have been left with the same overriding thoughts once those final chords had played out. Namely, that the album sounds like a desperate amalgamation of a number of scenes that have been deemed fashionable over the last decade or so – which could suggest either a lack of conviction or that they're a bit fickle. Secondly, that even despite this stylistic multitasking, the album seems to trundle by almost inconspicuously without any truly affecting moments.

Believe it or not, though: I actually rather enjoyed it. There's no denying that Jaill excel at sampling any of those aforementioned 'scenes' they choose to lend their hand to, be it Brooklyn garage-rock, So-Cal surf-pop or our very own seventies punk aesthetic. Vocalist Vincent Kircher, too, has the kind of voice that suits snotty sneering (Everyone's Hip) as comfortably as it does Mike Love-esque arpeggios (She's My Baby) or anthemic rock n' roll choruses (The Stroller). They're never short of a surprising hook and the presence of songs like the whimsy, acoustic slowie Summer Mess and the jiving, Chuck-Berry-meets-punk-rock jangle of How's The Grave ensure the tempo never gets repetitive. That's How We Burn is an album that's polished, rousing, and fun – if a little hackneyed and forgettable.

Having spent the best part of their career perfecting their craft without much significant recognition, it's no surprise that Jaill wanted their first foray into the mainstream to show off the full range of their talent. However, it's their idiosyncrasies that need more development if they really want to capture our imaginations.

Words : Tegan Rogers

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