Monday 24 November 2014

The Jackpine Snag - The Firetower EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 30/4/2014
Label: Silver Maple Kill Records

‘The Firetower EP’ DD/Vinyl track listing:

1). Brother Eye (02:25)
2). With Wings (02:59)
3). The Missaukee Strut (03:12)
4). What I Done (02:44)
5). The Grand River Float (02:24)
6). La Ventura (04:03)
7). Gonna Wreck My Life (03:00)


The Jackpine Snag started in Sept 2010. Joe Hart contacted Nick Merz and Todd Karinen about jamming some newer stuff he had worked out, and it immediately took off. within a few weeks of rocking in Joe's basement, they had 5 or 6 songs. now, they needed a name. after talking to his dad, who used to be a forest ranger, Joe really like the story about how jackpines can grow into one another and then die, leaving a nasty looking growth of wood, or a snag. so the name came from there. The Jackpine Snag played the first show in Feb of 2011. they played shows throughout the rest of the year, until Nick decided he was going to move to boise Idaho at the end of the year. after Nick left, Joe and Todd recruited Greg Lamb to fill the bass slot. after acclimating himself to the music, the band continued with their lucky streak of playing on great bills, which still is going today. in Feb of 2013, they released a 7" ep called The Omega Stump

The Band:

Joe Hart | Guitar,Vocals
Greg Lamb | Bass
Todd Karinen | Drums


You know how some bands never sound as good live as they do on the album? As if they just couldn't reproduce the same intensity?  The Jackpine Snag, from Lansing Michigan, is not one of those bands. The three piece band consisting of singer/guitar player Joel Hart, drummer Todd Karinen, and new bass player Jason Roedel offer up their second effort "The Fire Tower" on Silver Maple Records.

The band refers to their sound as "Heavy Blues Grunge Doom Rock Stuff", mostly in jest, and although all of those would apply, they don’t fit squarely into any of those. The guitar tones are dirty, low and fuzzy, and even desperate and maddening at times on songs such as ‘La Ventura’, which is also the longest on the album, clocking in at just over four minutes. Short, punchy and to the point is what you'll get.

Right from the first track, ‘Brother Eye’ you get the pounding rhythm with that dirty, nasty gritty guitar sound, coupled with Joe Hart's at times soulful and sometime howling vocals. But...what I like most about the Jackpine Snag is their sense of timing. Pauses and rests and changes all seem flawless, and they use plenty of them. If this kind of music kept the same progression and only used three chords, it would be punk. These songs don't do that. A perfect example is track three ‘The Missaukee Strut’. The rests and changes keep everything interesting, and once again the vocals go from a whisper to a howling scream, never making you comfortable, keeping you on edge. 

For my money, the song ‘The Grand River Float’ really sums up The Jackpine Snag and the album. It highlights all instruments, quick, to the point, and both soulful, nasty and desperate. I like to say to anyone who makes the mistake of listening to me long enough to let me wax philosophical, that good music, no matter what style, should make you feel something, anger, happiness, angst, whatever. Something, ya dig?   ‘The Firetower’ makes me feel a little angry, a little sad, especially if you listen to the lyrics. Also, it makes me feel really good, because as intense as these songs are, they are beautifully written. I'm not just saying that to write fluff or out of kindness. I have never, nor will I ever do that.
I fucking mean it.

There is a sweet melancholy wrapped around a crashing intensity and fuzz guitar that kinda makes you want to throw some "metal horns" and start stomping around. I don't know about you, but that pretty much does it for me. When any band can do that to me, they win.  I'm sold.  Incidentally, for the record, I have *NEVER* been fairly blazed, and played *ANY* of the JPS's records at 33 speed, just to watch the walls bleed, and demons flap around the room. Nope. Never happened, and I will continue to deny it.

Words by: Mike Borsum

You can pick up a copy here

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