Static Jacks recent single releases “I’ll Come Back” and “Wallflowers” were a pleasant surprise. Along with the latter’s extremely entertaining 80’esque video it was certainly a real change of direction for the New Jersey band and “Wallflowers” deservedly received its “Track of the Day” accolade from GIGsoup.
Gone were Ian Devaney’s angry and often screeching vocals, that started to really grind on the 2011 LP “If You’re Young”, and in their place two songs containing fantastic melodies, coherent lyrics and an overall more polished feel to them.
Thankfully the new album “In Blue” continues on that vein. In fact, it appears that this ‘change in direction’ may have been a deliberate ploy. The band talks at length about how a transformation started to take place after their “Spray Tan” EP, due to the wider spectrum of artists they were listening to (you can certainly hear Weezer and Feeder in here, from an instrumental perspective and vocally). They compare the creation of the new material to “applying a fresh coat of paint on an old room”, which does seem to indicate that overall musical foundation is still in place.
“Wallflowers” is the best track on the album, and by some distance. However, there are other little gems here. “Ninety Salt” contains thrashing guitars, thumping drums and a quaint string instrumental break at various intervals that gives you the overall impression of a well written and cleverly produced track. “Decoder Ring” and the 7 minutes and 7 seconds of “Greensleeves” probably offer the most obvious change in sound from the previous album, and again both tracks work really well. The hazy guitars after 1 minute and 19 seconds are incredible.
The change from angry album to this is not without its teething problems though. “We’re Alright” is dated and completely out of place on this album. It’s bland, tedious and plods along in the slow lane. Title track “In Blue” feels a little monotonous also. It’s the sort of track that could have been so much more. The fact it’s sandwiched between the excellent “Decoder Ring” and uplifting “People Don’t Forget” unfortunately highlights its averageness.
However, this album is progress. It’s my no means unique but it is entertaining and contains enough tracks of quality to ensure it will be given its deserved airplay.
“In Blue” by Static Jacks is available from September 30th 2013 on Fearless Records.