The Jazz June – The Medicine

The Jazz June
The Medicine

With some bands, you can’t help but complement their tightness, their precision, the perfection when they play. It’s nice to hear an album that is so tight and precise. But, then again, The Jazz June are all about loose playing and wild energy. And that’s ok too. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
This is The Jazz June’s third album, and they prove that they’re still willing to play fast, post-hardcore rock the way they’ve been doing it all along: loose, fun, and catchy. It’s amazing they’re allowed to still sound this loose, with J. Robbins manning the helm on this album. This band knows how to incorporate hooks into their songs, but they don’t do it too often to be classified as pop. Rather, these songs are all rock with layered guitars (this band at one time had four guitarists), powerful drums, and vocals that are really not very good but get the job done.
Things kick off fast and frenzied with “Viva La Speed Metal,” a sped-up romp that shows how bad these vocalists are, but you don’t mind the vocals, because this song just rocks too hard. They follow it up with the slower but just as loud “The Scars to Prove It,” which throws in some more melodic guitar and uses all four musicians on vocals. And by the end, when the band breaks into a more catchy, lofty sound, with the other singers adding “ahhh-ahhhs” to the background, I can’t help but love this band. “Excerpt” reminds me a bit of the aggressive No Knife from their earlier releases, with its strong bass lines and use of two vocalists in parts, while “The Phone Works Both Ways” again gets a bit more melodic and slower, and this is really where the vocals work best. The title track is probably one of the best here, starting off slower and building, adding more energy as the band goes along and sings, “and so I fucked up, but I’m getting on with my life.” “At the Artist’s Leisure Part 3” is just odd, with its slower feel and distorted guitars, the vocals almost conversational. The band is at their most intense on the wild “Death From Above,” which actually flirts more with hardcore, especially with shouted vocals that mingle with the layered, stellar guitars. What a fantastic song! “Get On the Bus” is about as slow and melodic as The Jazz June gets, although it does pick up as it goes along. There’s even some synthesized ambient noises working here. And “Balance,” at almost 10 minutes, finishes things off perfectly, going from slower with a jazzy bass breakdown to faster and frenzied, really running the entire course of what The Jazz June is capable of, and finishing with a wash of music and ambient sounds, tapes, guitar squeals, piano and more.
I think The Jazz June has grown up a bit. While their songs are still loose and catchy and powerful, they don’t go straight for the all-out emo hook. Rather, they layer the guitars a bit more and take more chances with the vocals on their latest release, for a sound that’s more mature but every bit as good as their previous works. Is it still emo? Ah, it’s so hard to tell these days. But if you went for their first releases, you will find more of the same great rock on this one.