I’m of the school of thought that one should never try too hard to do anything. This shouldn’t be confused with working hard though, for hard work is paramount in getting anything done and done right. What I mean is is that if one focuses too much energy on getting something “too perfect” or “too right” then it just ends up fucking up the whole thing at the end.
What I’ve come to understand in my time trying to make things is that the longer you take to do something the shittier it becomes. You think Jackson Pollack knew when he was done with a painting? Fuck no he just got to a point where he said to himself, “if I go any further I’ll just end up ruining this thing.”
I get this same sentiment from the Asheville, North Carolina garage-punks Jackson Harem. The trio of drummer and vocalist Missy Lawrence, guitarist Ray De Los Santos and bassist Ryan Morganti formed up last spring and began jamming.
Soon they noticed they’d already racked up a ton of tunes so why shouldn’t they just make a record. With that drive and spirit behind them they recorded their punk-y delta blues infused debut Oh Boy! Those familiar with rock music since the turn of this century will notice odes to bands like the White Stripes, The Black Keys and Mr. Airplane Man.
Oh Boy! opens with the sludgy T. Rex-esque “Stay Sexy.” It’s low down and dirty and like the many tracks to follow sounds like it was done live in only a take or two and after that not too fiddled around with mechanically.
The next tune, the slow-paced, bluesy rocker “Sugar My Sweet” gives off that same feeling of warm fuzzy flavor in your ear, and gets you ready for the Rah! Rah! Rah! feeling of “Don’t Gimme No” which seems to collapse in on itself as it goes along, beautifully I might add. It sounds the most like that De Stijl period White Stripes sound that comes back later like on the short but sweet thrash and bang dirty stomp rocker “I Hold You” and perhaps even drunker and crazier on the drunk-resounding closer “We’ll Be Fine.”
Oh Boy! gets away with a lot precisely because it has no rules to apply itself to. It is sometimes noise for noise sake but then the band redeems themselves with a clever lyric from Lawrence, or a clever riff from De Los Santos or Morganti, and all is forgiven and forgotten. So it goes with Oh Boy! Jackson Harem is not trying to reinvent the wheel, but they are keeping it in good working order.
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