Look, let's get to the heart of this review. Brain Cream by Jaill, out Tuesday on Burger Records, is a set of 13 tunes, all ace, and very nearly one of the catchiest damn things to be released so far in 2015.
"Getaway" coasts in on a near-surf wave of hooks like Vampire Weekend covering a Pavement tune and it instantly bores itself into your brain.
See what I mean?
Well, look, it's all like that here on Brain Cream. These cats are not rewriting the pop playbook but in a sense they are. With the nearest point of comparison being Twin Peaks, the band and not the show, the lads in Jaill are making a damn good case for the current rise of American indie, and I say that as a dude who always looks to England for the latest kicks. And only a few short years ago a term like American indie would have indicated an entirely different sort of music -- something dour, maybe? -- but now it means peppy pop like this and for that I heartily approve.
"Got an F" drops in a near-hint of something like a Sonic Youth-y attitude even if the tune rocks like early Feelies and late Pixies all spinning together in a blender.
There's a wonderful effect (keyboard or guitar pedal?) in "Slides and Slips" that varies the band's sound a bit, while "Symptoms" harkens back to a day when bands like The Rubinoos ruled imaginary playlists for all the power pop girls and boys.
By album's mid-point we've got the ska skank of "Change Reaction" which, even with its shuffle, is more Arctic Monkeys than Specials. "Little Messages" uses a layered keyboard to simultaneously channel both Gary Numan and Split Enz, while "Chocolate Poison Time" seems like the only real misstep on the album. Despite it's pleasant melody, it's overlong, frankly.
Still, things are back on track with "Look at You" and its No Wave NYC herky-jerky rhythms. If the keyboards sound like Modern English, the guitar lick and vocals echo Richard Hell. It's a helluva mix but it works.
Brain Cream is damn near a great record. It feels petty to even criticize it in any way when it's so loaded with hooks. There is something infectious here that I want to celebrate. And, let's just get this out there: this is largely happy music that makes me happy when I'm cranking it in the car. That doesn't make this Mahler but it makes it the sort of music that I hold on a pretty high pedestal.
Brain Cream by Jaill is out now via Burger Records.
Follow Jaill on their official website.