Jaill play garage the right way. Heavy on the hooks, light on the sneer, lovingly attuned to Reed’s salt and Casablancas’ swoon, and thoroughly uncynical – eulogizing getting high, getting laid, and getting out with your friends. Despite the hostile name, That’s How We Burn doesn’t have a moment of resentment, or a moment of originality, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
In fact, the consistent, unwavering quality songs make up for most of Jaill’s derivativeness. It’s pretty hard to write meaningful music out of such rooted conventions of guitar, drums, and bass, but That’s How We Burn is engaging throughout, which is quite an achievement for a meat and potatoes rock band. The band spans the touchstones, the balladic acoustic number “Summer Mess,” the half-smiled swinger “Baby I,” and plenty of roughed-up, Euro-informed, chart-ready rock songs (“On The Beat,” “Thank Us Later”, “Demon”) – but all of that familiarity only elevates the potency of the material. The band doesn’t even try to spice up their production with some fringy white noise, keeping the songs hi-fi and crisp, which is surprisingly unique in the context of what a lot critic-rock has come to encompass. That’s How We Burn isn’t going to change the world, nor does it try, it simply reassures us that an honest-to-god rock band can still make good music, and that the rapidly aging genre still has some statements to make.