Jaill JaillThat?s How We Burn
SUB POP Jaill is four guys from Milwaukee who have been listening to Elvis Costello’s “Less than Zero” too much. Four guys who get their picture taken next to sadly-decorated Christmas trees and who package their post-adolescent explosions into addictive psychedelic three-minute sound capsules. Their most direct reference is hype from last year: Girls . Like the San Francisco group, Jaill lists guys with toupees (like Buddy Holly) among its main influences, as well as the band of bands: Beach Boys. Well, up to here, everything seems to indicate that Vincent Kircher and his friends (among them a Ryan Adams who isn’t the Ryan Adams of “Heartbreaker”) could very well be a copy of the aforementioned (Girls) that, taking advantage of the psychedelic pop boom (which all sorts of bands belong to: some of them, like The Coral, manage to emerge unscathed from the abyss of the end of the 60’s, while others prefer to combine it with the snobbishness of the 80’s, like The Pains of Being Pure At Heart), have released an album, the one we’re talking about, “That’s How We Burn,” which is correct—at times dirty, at times contagious, at times even tender (in the sense that the Housemartins were tender: “Thank Us Later” is the best example). But that’s not it. Because Jaill didn’t just land here. In reality, the very listenable “That’s How We Burn” is their second LP.
They put out the first one last year. It was called “There’s No Sky (Oh My My)” and, although it’s more irregular than the present album, it already suggested a promising future for the band; they started out calling themselves Jail, but they had to change their name when they found out that there was a German band that already had that name. Pure 90’s lo-fi, recorded any old way, at home, that ended up catching the eye of the guys at Sub Pop, who decided to sign the band on after listening to the album. There were already four of them at this time (the group was at first a duo led by Vincent, willing to do anything to get his songs heard outside of the four walls of his bedroom) and Justin Perkins had agreed to give them a hand with production. Perkins is here again at the control panel (this time in his studio, something that shows—the production gains a lot and there is no better demonstration than the start, the very nervous, although minor in comparison with other cuts on the album, “The Stroller”) and sarcasm takes over each and every one of the cuts ( “Summer Mess” takes the cake, although the sharks of “She’s My Baby,” very Third Eye Blind, come very close).
They sound like the dirty, 90’s flip side of the Everly Brothers (in “Baby I”) and like a high-school dance without clichés ( “Everyone’s Hip” could be the theme song for a carefree teenager series). When they play at production to the n-th degree, they get a shot of adrenalin like “How’s the Grave” or a classic youthful outburst like “On the Beat” (without a doubt the cut that best defines their style). And if they insist that they don’t want to grow up (like they do in “Demon”) it’s because they dig Peter Pan, and if they can build a sound festival that looks like a sandcastle (on the beach) that lives up to the height (and the perfection) of “That’s How We Burn”, it is doubtless because we are looking at one of this summer’s pleasant surprises, which any fan of the Girls sound is sure to like. Laura Fernández