cd reviews


No Matter the Sleeping Hour



No Matter the Sleeping Hour, folk trio Jackaro’s second album, has potential. The lyrics are honest, the singing is beautiful, but something seems to have gone astray.

Instead of letting the bold lyrics do the talking, over-crafted harmonies bury the trio’s gifted songwriting. While most songs speak blatantly on sex and relationships, the vocal delivery suggests tender love songs.

In “First Avenue,” the band sings “I wanna take you out of this bar / Across the street and into my car / I wanna take you home.” The words suggest seductiveness, but the vocals are depressing.

The tender “Pretty Li’l Hook” just sounds silly. Sure, the harmonies are great, but once you pay attention to the lyrics it just sounds ridiculous. The band sings, “When we kiss we make fireworks better than in the movies.” The cliché is heartbreaking, especially coming from the band that wrote the honest and introspective line, “My greatest regrets are all results of hesitation” on “Reservations.”

“Reservations,” of course, is the album’s one exception.

With its edgy, seductive lyrics, the vocals create a dirty, pillow-talk feel that is rarely heard in folk acts. Singer Jenna Conrad begins the song crooning “Hey baby come over here / I’ve got a motivation that I want to make clear / A bad mind and a worse idea.”

No Matter the Sleeping Hour‘s juxtaposition between the suggestive lyrics and airy vocals on the other twelve tracks disappears on “Reservations.” The vocalized emotion is nearly absent in the remaining songs, making the album excruciatingly bland. In spots where an enraged growl should be heard, a soothing purr holds its place. (Kari Petrie)


The Vines

Highly Evolved



The Vines want you to like them, and how can you say no to a band that tries to be everything to everyone? Maybe this is why they have become all the rage with British rock scribes and fans. Like most neo-garage guitar bands generating a buzzing in Britain right now, these Aussie youths are in their early twenties and resemble new waver art students. While many of Highly Evolved’s tracks sound much like the other “hipster” indie bands that have all had their moment this year (The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Hives); the Vines do more than play a few catchy tracks ñ they fork off into many rock genres instead of sticking to one niche.

With metal-esque sounds, heartbroken ballads and dead-on rock legends impersonations, the Vines cover a lot of ground in a mere twelve tracks. This ambition sets the Vines apart and might help them keep their hip reputation long after the other trendy bands have begun to fade. The Beatles-esque “Mary Jane” is a perfect clone of mid-era Fab Four, right down to the thinly veiled drug references. On the raucous “In the Jungle” they sound like a polished version of Nirvana thanks to singer Craig Nicholls’ throaty screams. Nicholls proves to be a versatile lead singer on Highly Evolved, swooning timidly on one track and wildly screeching on the next.

The Vines official website says, “They listened to a lot of records and decided to make their own.” Next time they should try listening to their own ideas, instead of trying to sound like their favorite records. (Adrienne Urbanski)