Though a young band, there is a mature youthfulness and instant catchiness to JAWS' Simplicity, an album which is inescapably The Cure-esque
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It’s maturer, heavier and catchier than first album Be Slowly, so it’s surprising that Simplicity’s opening song is titled ‘Just A Boy’. Though inescapably The Cure-esque, instead of finding myself awaiting the iconic opening line, “yesterday I got so old / I felt like I could die”, I crave the shoegazing JAWS sound I first heard live. The song swells, finding its own and (despite influenced by many other sounds) feels fresh and exciting; no more in-between days. Though a young band, there is a mature youthfulness to Simplicity, and another equally contradictory title. The only simple aspect, which JAWS have always done well, is instant catchiness, particularly within their choruses.
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‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’ conjures the confining yet consoling gig scene, merging both the exhilaration of the front barrier with the emptiness of the bathroom, bar and smoking area. When listening to the song, it’s hard to pinpoint where you stand. The smudged vocals are muffled echoes, overridden by chaotic guitar riffs, and the song feels unsatisfyingly short – perhaps as if you missed some of it. However, it’s a track you’d gladly strain the ear to hear, with its last minute being almost anthemic and placing you in the centre of the crowd, feeling as if it was played for you.
With an introductory drum beat that once again brings The Cure to mind, ‘Right in Front of Me’ initially seems similar in both name and sound to ‘Close to Me’. Though the video contains a time-lapse from a driver’s perspective, the lyrics contradict this, failing to promote a similar ideal of progression, “a rose decays / no ambition / like a politician”. Combining a prominent bass-line and ambivalent, perhaps starry-eyed vocals, “I’ll believe / in what’s put right in front of me / shadows cloud my train of thought”, the song depicts the ambiguous fusion of attempting to daydream whilst restricted by frustration, stuck in a notably generational rut.
Dream-poppy synths in ‘17’ and ‘Work It Out’ allow a reminder of some of Simplicity’s predecessor, Be Slowly, and secure a JAWS sound whilst still proving the band have grown and continue to do so. The album is a versatile one, celebrating ups and downs, and revelling in its overwhelming blend of post-punk, psychedelic, dream pop and garage rock sounds, all neatly wrapped up in closing track, ‘The Invisible Sleep’, spinning on that dizzy edge.