Words by Brian Salvatore
Media Jeweler exist in an interesting space – they’re a (mostly) instrumental rock band, but you won’t find too many blistering solos. When there are vocals, they’re presented quite plainly, in stark contrast to the rest of the music. Their songs have strong melodies, but don’t really have a ‘head’ in the jazz sense (a melodic piece that establishes the song and then reappears before the close). The interplay rubs up against what is sometimes called ‘math rock,’ but it isn’t quite that dense.
On $99 R/T Hawaii, Media Jeweler doesn’t hold back in the slightest – the twin guitars push and pull at each other, on top of a rock solid rhythm section. The vocals that appear on the record verge on mantra-droning, with simple phrases repeated over and over again in a very simple, plain way. There are trumpets sometimes, to add a melodic standout atop the quartet’s sonic gumbo.
The magic ingredient in that recipe, however, appears to be simple fun. The record has a boisterous energy that is infectious and runs somewhat contrary to what is an incredibly serious display of musicianship. In that way, the music reminds me a little bit of Frank Zappa’s – masterfully constructed, and put together in the most serious way possible, but played by musicians at the top of their game who could enjoy such challenges.
I don’t quite know if this is the type of record you could put on at a party, but it almost is – it’s jubilant, and engaging, and fun, and crazy. But it is also a record that demands multiple listens, with headphones, to take in all the interesting things happening. There is almost nothing easily quantifiable about this album – and that is a wonderful thing.
‘$99 R/T Hawaii’
Fire Talk Records
© September 18th, 2015
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