Thursday, May 12, 2005

J Church, II

J Church- Nostalgic For Nothing

No one ever accused these guys of subtlety- twenty-six singles/comp tracks for the 95% of J Church fans who didn’t have the energy/scratch to keep up with the seemingly never-ending barrage of mid-Nineties split singles. Half of these tracks get hit out of the park, and the other half, are, well, b-sides. Batting five hundred, though, is a hell of a thing for a band to do, especially one this prolific- sign ‘em up for my rock band fantasy league.

J Church- One Mississippi

There was a period of like six months to a year where I used to work one day a week at this little store in Central Square that my friend Brooks owned. It was a cool time- I’d get up a little early and bike down the perpetually abandoned Western Avenue sidewalks to the store, where I’d chill, listen to records, read magazines and drink coffee.

The reason I had the patience to sit and absorb ‘One Mississippi’ was because of that store. It was a really tiny space, jammed to the gills with kitschy tchatchkes and blinking lights- like Woody Allen’s depiction of the human brain in there. Stretches of hours at a time when no one would come into the store, just me and whatever I brought to keep myself occupied. ‘Mississippi’ has just come out- I played it every week for like two months and got hooked.

This is a long-ass record, 26 songs- RSC- but it works because of Lance’s diversity. I don’t think of J Church as a group who spends a lot of time experimenting, but, to be fair, they’re a band who has put out so much stuff that a lot of their music is below the radar of all but the most dedicated fans, allowing them the space to tinker and try out a bunch of different stuff. The ‘Mississippi’ tracklist is wildly varied- punk songs, acoustic, rockers, post-ballads aching with sentiment, different production values and tempos- but it’s cohesive. Even though there’s a lot of different stuff going on, nothing is so radically off-kilter with the rest of the album that the listener is thrown off course. No less than a dozen pop gems on this one, J Church’s ‘Double Nickels.’ Awesome.

MIX TAPE: Rich and Young And Dumb.

J Church- Meaty Beaty Shitty Sounding

More singles, including a bunch by ELO (and one completely needless cover of a ‘Grease’ tune.) Sounds okay- I don’t have a lot to say about it, I guess. You know, J Church.

J Church- Palestine

This collection of songs, according to the album notes, was slated to be an LP released after ‘Drama of Alienation’ (not reviewed on this page- that was the Big Rock one, which I thought sounded very good -perhaps a grab at the brass ring). A shame that this was kinda lost in the shuffle, as it’s right up there with ‘Arbor Vitae’ and ‘One Mississippi.’ Moody and subdued, with little sound collage snips interspliced between the songs, not as characteristically poppy as I would think a J Chuch album would be (well, except for maybe the one song on here that is a complete rip-off of Pavement’s ‘Box Elder.’)

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