Jackson Hives – S/T

I hate giving mediocre reviews. I feel like such a schmuck. Non-committal. I mean, what happens when a band isn’t bad, but isn’t excellent and certainly not breaking any new ground? Sure, I suppose I could just rip them for the conventional hacks that they are, but there are often bands far more deserving of such criticism than a lot of the middle-of-the-road indie rock bands that I find myself listening to. The Jackson Hives are one such band. Your standard four-piece, they play standard indie-rock fare not unlike a lot of other bands. They’re un-offensive, unoriginal, and not exactly enthralling. At the same time, they throw together a couple of decent songs on this self-released five-song EP, and I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. This is not bad music.
Let’s start off with a couple of high points. The buzzing chords of “Cowboy,” which open the album, inspire that “summer feeling” and actually get me a little bit excited. The second song, “New Day,” runs a similar gamut, albeit not as catchy. The third song, “Alone,” sounds kind of like a Blur outtake. “Song About You” is Pavement-Lite, and the fifth song, well, we’ll get to the fifth song later. The lyrics on the album aren’t good, but are sung in such a cadence that they don’t offend me. The band seems musically competent. These are all good things.
Now the bad stuff. The third song, “Alone,” sounds like a Blur outtake. That line about the lyrics isn’t wholly true: on “Song About You” the singer rhymes “you took a toke” with “you made a joke,” and it doesn’t get better from there. Most importantly, the band has a terrible habit of extending their worst song. The two songs that crack five minutes – “Alone” and “Need Some Change” – are both meandering derivations from the guitar pop that this band is capable of crafting.
For the most part, this band is onto something with its pop rock. It’s kind of catchy, even if the best the singer can come up with is “you made a quip / now you think you’re the shit.” (C’mon people. Four, four band members, and no one vetoed that line?) So, as it stands, this band is outstandingly mediocre. I won’t be pulling out this album again, but it certainly won’t make my list of all time worst promos. I’m sorry I can’t get past a mediocre decision like that. Biggest problem is, the band can’t either.