Listeners are cautioned to “place a small potted cactus next to your left speaker” before starting the journey that is Jarrod Gollihare’s The House of Jed EP. I unfortunately don’t have that sort of thing lying around the house, so I have no idea what effect it would have had on my enjoyment of the music. I do know that this snippet of mildly sarcastic, dry yet explosively humorous charm weaves its way through each note and lyric, creating songs that can be referred to in many of life’s tough situations.
“Coming Off Pretty” starts the EP in a startlingly realistic way, wrapping the morbid mental, external, and even internal effects of superficial and selfish thoughts in a swath of upbeat melodies. The leading guitar and supportive tones have an edgy rock feel; the vocals harness a more poppy sound, while still managing to convey the deep theme intended. It’s a strong start to this album and sufficiently piques your curiosity as to what’s next.
If you like songs that leave you contemplating the direction of your life, “Last Entry (Gotta Run Now)” is the song for you. This song describes the volatility and unpredictability of life in a very understandable and easily relatable way. The dark rock chords and sporadic odd-time signature cast the perfect mood to support the lyrics.
“I Won’t Survive You” returns to the pop aspect captured in the first song, and serves as the love song of the EP. The lyrics are simple enough to catch on to quickly, and though there are significantly fewer lyrics here, the meaning is easy to understand from the very beginning.
What “I Won’t Survive You” lacks in lyrical depth is more than compensated in the final song “Everybody Lies.” We also see the marked reappearance of more pop-inspired elements, even in the instrumentation. The return to the more upbeat style works incredibly well with this particular song and does a great job of capturing the annoyance and irritation that often results from the realization that everyone in fact DOES lie, and there is not much that can be done about it.
Jarrod Gollihare seems to tap into an inner part of his own psyche, projecting it out into a world far too quick to deny the presence of such deep feelings. Packaging such heavy human emotions in prototypical pop vocal styles really drives the point home and makes it an accessible EP for just about anyone. After listening, you’ll likely want to check out work from his two other bands, Admiral Twin and Bellweather Squares. You’ll also have an inexplicable urge to acquire a potted cactus. Perhaps that is why you are forewarned to have one beforehand.
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