Wednesday, November 03, 2004

All I hear is the Jealous Sound...

Jealous of the victors in this years election and scared of the havoc that they will bring upon our country. That's all I will say though. I really think the wrong guy won, but that's the nature of politics.

I don't remember how I got my hands on my first Knapsack album. It certainly wasn't via radio. But somehow or another these boys from Davis, Ca. led by Blair Shehan found their way into my life when I was living by myself in a small studio apartment right on the edge of San Francisco's Tenderloin. There were days and night when I thought that the only thing keeping my head above water was the wail of Shehan's voice on Day Three of My New Life. I'll grudgingly admit that Knapsack was a forebearer of the whole "emo" sound. I will say that they were mining the pained boy vocal over howling guitar territory long before alot of bands started to cry into their telecasters. Knapsack did really fit the mold though. Shehan's vocal style isn't a shout or a scream, instead it's about as close as you can come to that keening and still be carrying a melody. The music was built on fuzzed up guitars, loud and driving. Knapsack was an excellent band. They followed Day Three of My New Life with This Conversation is Ending Right Now, a more mature outing that incorporated some different instuments, slower tempos and a more pained sound Shehan. It did, however, still rock.

Like so many good bands that go without commercial success despite putting out strong critically acclaimed records Knapsack broke up. Out of the ashes Shehan formed The Jealous Sound. When they released their first EP I have to admit that I didn't really get it. I mean the band sounded almost exactly like Knapsack. Shehan sang in the same manner about the same things. The guitars were still loud and melodic. Their didn't seem to be much to differentiate this new band from the old. All that seemed to change between the release of said EP and the release or their first album Kill Them With Kindness. It turns out that The Jealous Sound bought into the whole "emo" thing hook, line and sinker. There's much more polish here than in any Knapsack release, the rough edges are sanded smooth and while Shehan still croons in his signature howl there's clearly an attention to the fact that with a little airplay the big bald guy could be seeing heavy rotation on TRL. Problem is, I like The Jealous Sound. I think it's my baser pop instincts taking over but Kill Them With Kindness is so hook heavy and full of sing-a-long choruses that I almost (almost) forget the glitzy sheen that they've laid onto the whole affair.

I highly recommend both Knapsack albums I mentioned here. Kill Them With Kindess and The Jealous Sound are also recommended but check out Knapsack first.

So here's one from Knapsack, one of their mellower tracks to suit my mood:

Hummingbirds - Knapsack (from This Conversation is Ending Right Now)

And one from The Jealous Sound:

Guard it Closely - The Jealous Sound (from Kill Them With Kindness)


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