Jacobi Wichita - Bonez Malone
Record Label: None
Release Date: May 2008
The guys in Connecticut's post-punk quintet Jacobi Wichita tell about their latest effort Bonez Malone in their press kit, saying, "Each song is a roller coaster of emotion." They include that, "They have made a multifaceted blend of tracks that push the progressive rock, hip-hop, and Latin genres to their limit." As a listener, I found Bonez Malone to be lacking on these promises. The music is stereotypical of post-punk, screamo and experimental rock endeavors. For the band, I have no doubt that they are extremely proud of their work, but for the listener, the album is a bit like an abstract painting or art installation whose specialness is not obvious to the outsider.
The members of Jacobi Wichita do try very hard on the album to keep their chord changes active and their tempo shifts diverse, but they make these cuts without a natural progression or a reason to back them. These changes end up being irrational instead of purposely, although the band does justify themselves in their press release by saying this "makes the flow anything but ordinary, anything but boring." Lead vocalist Brendan Rodriguez shifts from a screamo resonance to a hip-hop jolt reminiscent of Gym Class Heroes vocalist Travis McCoy. The band's guitarist Ben Lopez keeps the tunes in turmoil while holding a post-punk stature and keyboardist Casey McKenna adds touches of experimental and ambient-pop that gives the songs a melodic undertow like in "Hey, Hey, Hey... Take It Easy" and "Gullyhead." The rhythm section of bassist Roberto Zapata and drummer Matt Swain plaster the songs with hammering beats and funk-rock grooves like in "Violets Aren's Blue, They're Violet." One of the best written tracks on the album is "Mental Crown" with lovely harmony vocals that have a relaxing R&B/soul feel. If the band had more songs like "Mental Crown," it would have been a more enjoyable experience.
Jacobi Wichita's latest release Bonez Malone shows many correlations to Gym Class Heroes in the band's post-punk and experimental rock tendencies. Jacobi Wichita is a band that you will either greatly admire or find nothing special about them, but possibly their best is yet to be discovered. If you do buy the record, be warned that you will need a system that accepts CD-RW because the quality of the disc that I received was not very good.
this is a shittily written review. i feel that the reviewer really isn't taking enough of an explorative attitude especially with a band as new and budding as jacobi. they are in no way even CLOSE to similar to gym class heroes, (save maybe the skin complexion of the lead singers...is this reviewer racist?). The band jacobi are closest to is certainly glassjaw. the lead singer of jacobi's vocal style is very very close to daryl palumbo's (which is explainable by the fact that jacobi's lead singer actually has a glassjaw tatoo on his arm), but actually i find jacobi's singer to be more dynamic, exciting, and possessing of better and more varied screaming. also his stage presence live is next to incredible. very captivating. And there is nothing wrong with being a daryl palumbo disciple.
the complaint i have about this record is that the switches in genre/style within songs can sometimes seem very without purpose. Admittedly, switching styles mid song can often be a very good idea, especially with the general ADD that the current generation of listeners are affected by, but doing this numerous times makes songs lose their identity and become a forgettable dogpile of sound. People who put their faith in jacobi will go along with this aspect of their music as "interesting" or "complicated," but in my opinion the band are pulling some this stuff out of their asses in order to sound stylistically dynamic and impressive. I'd venture to say that the genre eclecticism within their songs succeeds half the time and falls flat half the time. If the band could focus the beam of the incredible talent and sensibility they already possess, they could create something truly emotionally wrenching, expressive, dynamic, and original.
I'd say they're certainly on the right fucking track, all they need to do is keep their enthusiasm and energy high and work toward their goals.
Yeah, this review is terribly written. Besides various instances of grammatical awkwardness, the reviewer makes hasty generalizations and throws around genres (post-punk, screamo) that have nothing to do with this album. Jacobi Wichita is best described as a post-hardcore band with hip-hop and R&B influences. Not to be a genre-nazi or anything, but when you're THAT far off, something must be said.
The album is pretty good. ALthough there are indeed random, unnecessary changes in sound throughout, the band generally does what they do well. Listen to "Baby Gorilla Teeth" or "Violets Aren't Blue, They're Violet" and you'll have a good grasp of their overall sound.