There are a lot of time periods within the last sixty years that you can point to as a prime time for rock. A lot of people go to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, which is indisputably true but the early to late ‘90s is certainly being brought up in conversation. Bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains Nirvana, Pearl Jam as well as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Smashing Pumpkins were becoming embedded into our social conscious. It’s no wonder that in 2015 there is a huge resurgence of bands who sound like they could have been on “120 Minutes.”
Enter the band Sour Jenny. The four-piece from Queen, NY is comprised of Jordan Sopp (guitar), Christian Chandler (lead vocals), Chris Calvacca (drums/vocals), and Sean MacDonald (bass). Their recent self-titled EP Sour Jenny is a throwback to bands who have come before. Out of all the bands to come from the ‘90s Alice in Chains is the band they have the most in common in with. Chandler often sounds like a different version of Layne Staley and the music is reinforced with a similar guitar heavy style.
Although the songs on Sour Jenny don’t contain any welcome surprises and follow the tropes you would come to expect from the genre the songs are well written. The opener “Drive” is a high-octane rocker that almost sounds like a cross between Rage against the Machine and Alice in Chains. It’s a hard-hitting, dynamic song that comes through a couple of time changes. In fact the breakdown even gets a bit bluesy and builds on a guitar solo.
“Alarms” is a straightforward distortion filled song that contains well-done vocal harmonies. The band gets pretty intense at points. Three songs in, the band makes the wise decision to take their feet off their distortion pedals. There were a number of moments on “Sour” and “Only One” where I was reminded of mainstream 2015 rock, which I could have done without. I don’t think there is much argument that ‘90s rock you heard in the radio trumps most of what you get today.
Sour Jenny hopes to breath life back into the ‘90s genre. Truth is that they aren’t alone. There are thousands of bands trying to do the same thing. If Sour Jenny hopes to be a step above their peers they are going to have to go above just paying homage to artists that came before - they will have to build upon it. Bands like Deerhunter and Savages have done this with great success - will Sour Jenny be next? Only time will tell.
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