For Fans Of
What is Wollongong known for? Well John Jarratt (AKA Mick “I like to kill people” Taylor) was born there, and well…ah…maybe not much else. Unless, the NBL team is anything to write home about? Well, you can add Jacob to that list now because their latest release ‘keep growing old‘ is off the chain.
Yes, Jacob, not Jakob, the post-rock band from New Zealand, but rather the four-piece brand of emo, indie, and post-hardcore band. Sure, this quartet’s sound is very “in” at the moment, with the vocal style and instrumentation taking big influences from bands like Superheaven, Turnover, Adventures, Endless Heights, Fires of Waco and a slew of other bands in this scene. However, it doesn’t feel like the band just slapped together some clean guitars, raspy emotional vocals, and some sad lyrics and then just hoped for the best. No, ‘keep growing old’ has been made with some real heart and honesty and it doesn’t feel gimmicky at all.
The brief, but oh so punchy, ‘old’ is both raw and very emotional and is the best example of the punk rock side of Jacob on this album. ‘twenty’ is a more melodic hardcore/pop-punk inspired attempt, whereas ‘bricks’ is a far slower, dynamic, rise and fall song, and it’s here that the instrumental nuances reminiscent of bands like La Dispute really come out on. The short, but sweet ‘stayed’ transitions into the Endless Heights sounding ‘lungs‘, which harbours more melodic instrumentation than it lets on. Both of those tracks feel like two sides of the same coin and yet the transition is barely noticeable and the ending of ‘lungs‘ is just ace, with the heartfelt call of, ‘You were the morning sun, you were the breath in my lungs‘.
All of these are good songs but it’s the start and end of this album that offer the best moments. The melodic and ethereal ‘i’ that opens the album is arguably the best song, as it embodies most of the musical elements that are used in the following songs, and it’s delivery shows skill well beyond the band’s years. Then at the end, we have the both equally brilliant ‘shoes’ and ‘clever’.
The former is a powerful song about growing up and just dealing with all of the bullshit life can throw your way, and it’s atmospheric guitars, droning bass, and soft spoken word vocals that become harsh screams really make the hair on the back of your head stand up on end. Despite the melancholic vibes of this song, the album ends on a real high note, in both terms of quality and timbre. The happier, uplifting tone of the latter is a nice breath of fresh air and instead of instilling the throes of sadness and depression, it helps to pull your head up with driving rhythms, and early Motion City Soundtrack/The Wonder Years-like synth, just far less cheesy than when those bands do it.
Jacob’s new album is great, fucking great. It’s full of the hip Run For Cover and Hopeless Records trends and sound, all with an Australian touch to it.‘keep growing old’ is a brief listen (only around 20 minutes) but quality always trumps quantity, so don’t be scared of laying down a couple bucks for this slab of awesomeness (go here). Oh, and yes, all the song titles and the album’s name are spelt as lower case, we weren’t just being lazy.