Jaguar Love - Jaguar Love EP
Record Label: Matador Records
Release Date: June 3, 2008
What is pop music? Is it the covers of Tiger Beat? Is the slick moves of 80's pop icon Michael Jackson? Some of us define the description as something to turn our noses up at, while others embrace its fun sensibility in an unprocessed corporate way.
The latter describes new act Jaguar Love, comprised of ex-Blood Brothers frontman Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato with ex-Kill Sadie/Murder City Devils/Pretty Girls Make Graves guitarist, Jay Clark, on drums.
Three tracks comprise the EP that takes a look into the band's upcoming Take Me to the Sea debut in August. "Highways of Gold" is as keyboard happy as Whitney's voice, high and almost demanding of fun. Votolato's riff-repetitive guitar work is back, still a bit angular, but more major than chaos inducing minor. Clark even sounds like a little drummer boy, small and simple, with heavy snare rolls throughout, playing keep up to his bandmates' inflatable bounce machine.
"My Organ Sounds Like..." is a danceable, town fair procession through the streets. I feel like if you put this on at an elementary school fun-day, the kids would be getting up, bouncing to the downbeat piano bridge. "Videotape Seascape" wants to be a dreary rock song with Votolato's intro riff, but turns itself into a straightforward pop-rock one, laced with some out-of-place licks here and there. By the second chorus, the song turns into a rocker, then bridges into some harmonic finger picking strange land, pauses, and kicks back into the chorus again. This is as commercial and heavy as Jaguar Love will get to end the record. A final, and few and far between, scream ends the EP.
Jaguar Love won't spaz-out like Head Wound City or weird-out of its pop ability like Neon Blonde, its closest comparison. It takes the love of pop-rock and composes itself into something that's not pre-sliced. The band is made up of some major talent that only seeps some of their past lives into this new project; Take Me to the Sea looks promising with this EP's sound. For those looking for past events, they have come and gone. It took a few listens, but Jaguar Love may have some lovable tunes for both you and the kids, and it doesn't involve the word bop in it.