By now, every faithful reader of whatzup knows the story of Abraham cum Jettingham and their rocket fuel-driven rise to national awareness culminating in the inclusion of their song “Cheating” on the American Pie 2 soundtrack.
So the big question is how does their first national album sound? How do these songs that many of us have come to know sound after being in the hands of highly paid studio bigwigs who use the latest and statest of the artist’s equipment? Never fear, for Barret Jones, who has sat at the helm for such luminaries as Nirvana and Foo Fighters, was the perfect producer to capture the triple espresso energy of this quartet.
A number of tracks from Jettingham’s local album were kept intact with only minor additions or tweaking. For example, “Cheating” was remixed for a more edgy feel and a bit of extra distortion but it’s essentially the same song we’ve been privy to for many moons. All in all, the album springs out of your speakers with non-stop punk-pop energy. It’s easy to see how these guys were raised on 80s melodic metal because every song is crammed with hooky melodies and unforgettable choruses. “Good Life” opens the album like a bell signaling the end of school for the summer with a double helping of youthful vigor and optimism. While the humorous yet dark “Cheating” was the song selected for the American Pie 2 soundtrack, it was “Never Never Never” that tore up the radio waves in Allen County and is arguably the best track on the disc. Clever lyrics such as “We don’t go to bed /We just have sex” are buffeted about by chunky guitar riffs and the honey-sweet melody that is sure to make this song stick in your head. “Hardcore” is another song that could easily be a soundtrack to such teen sex comedies as AP2, again with a great melody and a powerful blast of guitars.
In harsh contrast to these enjoyable daydreams are the lyrics written by singer Dave Schmoekel, which are more introspective. Songs such as “Ordinary” find Schmoekel singing passionately, “There must be something better than this,” expressing a yearning to break out of Smalltown USA that all of us have felt at one point. But Jettingham has managed to break free and their enthusiasm is as over-the-top as these songs. If you’re looking for fun, high-energy music that’s perfect for whiling away the fading days of summer, you can’t go wrong with this excellent release by Jettingham.
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Marcus King Band
July 21 • Sweetwater Performace Pavilion