The Jealous Sound – A Gentle Reminder

The Jealous Sound – A Gentle Reminder Album Art

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Rumors of label changes, scrapped recordings, and shifting personnel have kept fans of the Jealous Sound on edge about the likelihood of another album. Devoted fans found a glimmer of hope when the Got Friends EP dropped in 2008; but subsequent delays put a damper on the prospect of any future releases. In 2009, everything came together for the Jealous Sound when the band opened for Sunny Day Real Estate’s reunion tour. Shortly after the tour’s conclusion, the Jealous Sound enlisted Nate Mandel of Foo Fighters and Sunny Day Real Estate to assume bass duties, set up shop in Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters studio in Los Angeles, and started working on a follow-up LP. After an eight-year wait, the Jealous Sound returns with a second full-length LP, A Gentle Reminder, and with confidence, I can say it was well worth the wait.

On A Gentle Reminder, the band seems entirely refreshed, but with a sound that is strikingly consistent with previous releases. Clearly, they are not interested in following any lame trends in today’s auto-tuned filled music industry. Instead, the Jealous Sound sticks to what they know best by continuing their craft for sincere, dark, guitar layered, melodic indie rock songs, that hearken back to the underground indie-pop sound of the mid 90s. Upon hearing the first guitar strums of the opening track “Beautiful Morning,” it feels as if the band has picked up right where it left off on their debut LP Kill Them with Kindness, making it hardly noticeable that 8 years have passed since that release. The quiet, clean guitar tones and trademark whispered vocals lead into pounding drums and distortion soaked bass that reaches a climax as singer Blair Shehan demands: “Let the darkness take control!” The album is not quite as upbeat or as raw as previous releases; but the sonic layers and build ups are equally as powerful – if not more explosive – than before.

With a crisp production and recording quality that is definitely a step up from their earlier recordings, Blair’s voice sounds better than it ever has. His vocal control produces whispered melodic verses that make way for loud, belting choruses. The title track, “A Gentle Reminder,” for example, builds up into a monster chorus that will send chills down even the most pop-averse music fan’s spine. And in “Change You”, Blair insists “sometimes the bravest thing, is just to lay down your arms and sing, can’t do this on my own, I can’t do this on my own”. It’s moments like this that will get stuck in your head for days, after the very first listen. This ability, coupled with well-placed harmonies and sing-along hooks, make every song on A Gentle Reminder worth listening to. Fans of Jimmy Eat World, Knapsack, Samiam, and Foo Fighters, will all find something to love about this album. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another eight years to hear something else from these guys.

RIYL: Knapsack, Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, Samiam

— Jason Gordon, 01/25/2012
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