REVIEW: The Jazz June – ‘After The Earthquake’

jazz june

Artist: The Jazz June
Title: After The Earthquake
Label: Topshelf Records
Genre: Emo, Rock

It gets difficult to string together thoughts on a band’s work when you aren’t as familiar with their back story. The Jazz June is different, though. Their music is sort of like the older brother you have who went away to college when you were seven and came back home so you could meet his wife and his kids.

TJJ crash course (for those who need it): The band came to life in 1996 in Pennsylvania. Their most acclaimed record thus far is entitled The Medicine. They sort of stopped doing things in 2004. You must give them the time of day if you haven’t already done so. Yeah?! Sweet.

This new record, After The Earthquake, is a very relevant and suitable comeback after over a decade of radio silence from the Kutztown quintet. Sharing a genre (and what would have been a fan base) with the likes of Braid and Mineral, The Jazz June would have undoubtedly made it into the hearts of fans who have found independent music through the web, had they been around for the past couple of years. Fortunately for us, though, they’re here now and their new music is about to fall into the arms of new-age emo revival fans; the same fans that caused all of American Football’s reunion shows to sell out in less than an hour.

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that TJJ has influenced a good number of new wave bands like Beach Slang (who opened for them in Brooklyn recently) and PUP, I’d have a bunch of pennies. Apparently taking from bands like Cap’n Jazz and Superchunk themselves, The Jazz June take pride in their heavy use of distortion and other “garage band” aesthetics that we hear prominent on opening track, “Over Underground.”

Sometimes you stumble across one or two songs that instantly catch your attention during a new record’s first spin. My encounter with third track, “With Honors,” was one of those instances. This is as simple as three-chord songs get, and it’s probably the least flashy among all ten tracks. You’re made to pay attention to the honest lyrics more than anything. Newer and younger fans will be able to absorb this record easily as lead singer, Andrew Low, does not dwell on specificity in terms of his writing.

Maybe it’s just technology getting better over the decade, but all the new tracks sound a lot richer and fuller, sonically. We see this in “Edge Of Space” and “Stuck On Repeat,” where both the instruments and the vocals intertwine very nicely into a cluster of solidarity. It kind of reminds me of songs those bands like Dikembe (who they’ve released a split 7” with), Joie De Vivre and You Blew It! would make. Seeing TJJ’s and other older bands’ sonic elements live on today breeds a lot of hope for the future of the genre.

Although it would have been nice to break the civil structure and get spark inducing, dynamic-breaker tracks like The Medicine’s “The Scars To Prove It,” tracks like “It Came Back” and “Short Changed” stand out for their fluidity and bounce. After those come the album’s closer and another one of my personal favorites, “Two Floors Down,” which rubs on a little differently. It has a slower pace and it’s not as rambunctious as the rest of the songs on the record are, allowing for ease into the final few seconds in which we are left at.

After The Earthquake possesses a lot of potential that will settle very nicely within the vast array of emo revival records that came out this year. After all, they are the old timers and this is their territory.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Review written by Dana Reandelar

Dana Reandelar

If not hunched over her desk writing about music, Dana can be found binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or condensing long rants to 140 characters. She also writes for Idobi Radio, and is an Off The Record podcast contributor.
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