In 2012 I belatedly discovered one of the most moving albums of the year that had just passed, namely Jet Black's bristling Escape Measures LP. Fortunately, I'm a little more on the ball for the Montreal quartet's follow-up, In Paradox, which just dropped last week. Cut from the same amped-out sackcloth as their debut, In Paradox's is another consistently appealing melodi-noise salvo, throttled down a notch or two. Not a deliberate throwback, Jet Black are nonetheless tethered to '90s sonic aesthetics, the kind that endeared me to the likes of Swervedriver, Failure and No Knife back in the Clinton-era. The melancholic hues that dye In Paradox are more pensive than despondent, and despite JB's unflinchingly austere poise, their dense, clamorous haze is coupled with a tuneful penchant that's as effective as anything you're likely to hear this side of a Silversun Pickups record. And the cherry on top? A slight but unmistakable ethereal kick.
Physical copies of In Paradox won't be coming down the pike until November, but you can purchase the digital incarnation from the usual sources - iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, and for a limited time you can stream it via Big Takeover's newly revamped webpage.
And now for the second act on today's docket. New Paltz, NY’s What Moon Things don’t rewrite the
post-punk playbook, so much as revive it to its pre-hipster grandeur and
integrity, throwing the notions of today’s ersatz revivalists straight under
the bus. First and foremost this trio
hones in on texture, emphasizing nimble percussion and under-your-skin rhythmic
contractions. Secondly, their economical
setup lends itself to skeleton crew arrangements, augmented by a crisp
recording that reveals every plunky clang and crash. A foreboding, subterranean mystique is
pervasive here, countered occasionally with sweet Cure guitar tones circa-Disintegration. There’s a purity to the band’s doggedly
uncompromising tenor coursing through What
Moon Things, whether it be the bludgeoning splay of “Doesn’t Make Much
Sense,” or the woefully emoted “Astronaut,” and that’s merely in the first half
of this fabulous, noir beast of a record. Get it on CD or digitally from Bandcamp or Amazon downloads.