One thing I’ve noticed about art in all its many forms in the rise of this digital age is that it seems to be so much more of a pissing contest to get noticed and after one is noticed it’s a constant battle to keep on top of the heap. Let’s face it you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but most people are going to and the people in the band and the marketers behind the band know that too and they are going to do everything they can to make that cover catchy as fuck, even if the words inside are just complete garbage. I think the five members of the Louisville, Kentucky rock group Jane know this and are a spirited enough “fuck all” rock band to play the game but by their own rules.
On their debut record, Amen Dudes Jane, who is vocalist Christy O'Connell, guitarist Tory Fisher drummer Matt Filip, bassist Jennie Walker and guitarist Matt Fox, launch through each song with a fierce aplomb that so many coming of age rock bands I have the chance to listen to all the time seem to always be lacking. From the beginning to the end Jane. nail it over and over with a simplicity and directness that is quite refreshing.
The opening track “Before We Die” is two minutes and sixteen seconds of bad-assedness rock and roll reminiscent of the thrash and bang day of Sonic Youth, albeit without the super long and intricate guitar solos. But the same power is here, and O’Connell’s vocals, which are just nasty enough of a sneer that they sound and likely are authentic, and the rock that the band bangs out behind her has that same honest simplicity, not showing off or going off too long in one direction or another or trying to make any of their songs “sound” like something.
The song “Lonely Boy” is a perfect example of this nonchalance of rock that just works so well on its own, needs no accoutrements or anything to spice it up. From this they launch into the bar rock anthem “Mountain” which moves with such great precision and erupts with a feral grunginess that pervades so many of the songs on Amen Dudes.
But Jane. are also a band willing to take chances and try not to hide any mistakes in hiss or feedback, they just lay it all on the table as they do so well on the melodic “Happily” and the bluesy and raucous thriller of a song, “Loaded Gun,” and the equally dirty closer “Mean Streets.”
I’m not a soothsayer or anything like that but I know a great and polished rock and roll band when I hear them, and Jane. is definitely that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did some damage enough to get themselves signed to an indie label that has enough sense to let them foster their sound and keep doing what they do so well which is to pen rock songs for people that actually give a shit about what’s inside the book. Highly recommended.
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