“How can I tell you what I want to say?” This line from ‘Your Desire’, track 8 off of Jets Overhead’s new album ‘Boredom and Joy’, sums up a great deal of existential angst in relation to the object of our desire in a very succinct and elegant way. While it sounds like a bunch of songs about a bunch of relationships, it is, according to their press release, an album about a single ‘evolving relationship that moves quietly from certainty to uncertainty’.
Relationships and their difficulties have been fodder for artistic exploration probably about as long as human beings have been expressing themselves artistically. While that might incline one to think that this album is going to be more of the same, this band definitely deserves a listen, especially if you’re into songcraft welded to lush pop orchestration. This group understands the power of layers, and the combination of instrumental arrangement coupled with tasteful use of effects generates results the resonate with emotional potency.
One of my personal favorites is track 10, ‘Directions’. For starters, the way the rhythm of the bassline sits right in the pocket with the rhythm of the ride cymbal is so very satisfying. On top of that, there is a sense of quiet melancholy evoked by the references to shoe-gaze indie pop that will tug at the heartsleeves of the hopeless romantic within all of us. The languid tempo adds to the introspective quality. While the general mood is one of wistful quiet, the relentlessness of the bassline coupled with the ride cymbal adds an undercurrent of urgency, even desperation. Remember, the direction is towards uncertainty, and by this point in the narrative, things are definitely uncertain.
If I have any complaints, it relates to the uniformity of tempo. Unless it’s related to hardcore punk in some way, I find a uniformity of tempos to dissipate my sense of focus while engaged in the act of focused listening. Kicking the bpm up a few notches for a couple of numbers would help to break things up a little and could be used for artistic reasons. Uncertainty does beget mania and sometimes rage. This is just my opinion; ultimately, this is a trifling concern, and the end result is a beautifully and thoughtfully constructed indie pop album. If you enjoy intelligently constructed music, give this a whirl. You’ll find something engaging in just about every track.