Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Catchy oddball pop from Jookabox

You may have heard the two prior releases by Indianapolis, IN native David Adamson’s project, Grampall Jookabox. They have shortened their name to Jookabox for their third release, “Dead Zone Boys.” Already known for blending an eclectic mix of styles with imaginative beats and vocal stylings, Jookabox continues to plunge ahead into strange but appealing territory.

Straight up pop with a twist.

“Dead Zone Boys” opens with ‘Phantom Don’t Go,’ which is my favorite track on the disc. Thundering drums, odd, warbling keyboards, and a hint of Middle Eastern Qawwali vocals back Adamson’s halting, harmonized lead vocals. It’s a strange combination that undeniably rocks.

It is followed by ‘Don’t Go Phantom,’ which has familiar rock elements and another good vocal melody, but is given a strange feel by the backing vocals that are sped up to sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks. The song makes me think of some cross between Oingo Boingo and experimental rockers Battles.

Throughout the disc, Jookabox presents us with interesting pop melodies that are transported out of the ordinary by a variety of tricks and sound effects most often applied to the vocals. Adamson has good pop/rock sensibilities and writes appealing hooks, but appears to hate the predictable or formulaic and goes far out of his way to keep the tracks on this album from sounding mainstream or even radio friendly.

I was glad to discover “Dead Zone Boys” and ripped 6 of this disc’s 11 tracks to my iPod. Other highlights include:

  • You Cried Me – An exuberant song with energetic acoustic guitar and near frantic backing vocals.
  • East Side Bangs/East Side Fade – A relatively conventional melody with hooting backing vocals and siren noises added for color.
  • Glyphin‘ Out – Another pleasing pop melody with vocals slightly sped up to a childlike pitch.
  • Evil Guh – An eerie ballad about an “evil, evil, evil, evil woman” that somehow appeals in spite of the droning vocals and plodding pace.
  • Light – Features sped up lead vocals and layers of cool harmony work in front of a danceable – almost rave-like – beat.

Some of the work on “Dead Zone Boys” is a little too weird for me, but even the stuff I didn’t rip is interesting. For me, saying an album doesn’t sound like anything else in my collection is high praise. Jookabox approach music with inventiveness and passion and achieve a sound that is fresh. I recommend you pick up this album. I will be going back to listen to Jookabox’s older releases.

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January 28, 2010 - Posted by | Alternative, Popular, Rock

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