Simplicity drops in as JAWS’ second album since 2012. Simple is the best way I can describe it, which works both for and against it. As reading week is coming up for most, ‘indie-pop’ and mellow vibes are ideal for creating some background noise whilst working. However, out of their 11 tracks, most of them stay thus, not standing out.
‘Just a Boy’ opens the album, with an easy build up and a sudden contrast of light and heavy sounds, making it feel fresh. Sadly, it sets a precedent for boring vocals, representing the whole album well. Next up is ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’, notable for being more upbeat and a better test of vocals. Already, we’re starting to get a “midnight party AM vibe”, but cheerier than Alex Turner’s constant moping over lost girls. This track feels more memorable throughout than the last.
It’s only with ‘Right In Front Of Me’ that things start to mix up, with introduction to a bassline. The music is diverse but can’t stay that way, and the same can be said for vocals. Not a notable song apart from the bass. ‘17’ is also ideal for reading week; it’s very chill, but also the first reflection of what this album is trying to accomplish – a mix of sadness and cheerfulness. However, the racey final minute of ‘17’ forces you to recognise how the songs up to this point have all been slow and forgettable.
Their ‘Interlude’ serves literally no purpose other than, to me, breaking away from the boring and slow feel for a Summery, “wind in your hair” driving vibe.
‘On the Sunshine’ does this too. We actually feel a change in the music; it’s still very mellow, but it’s clearly trying something new. The words “take me on a joyride” stand out, leaving you wishing remainder of the album would do so. Sadly, it’s just an upbeat change with similar problems. When final song ‘The Invisible Sleep’ rolls round, it brings back the sudden loud chords from the first song. But this idea is only used in these two places. I’m sad this idea was used only to sandwich the album, rather than elaborated on. It could have helped the other songs, because when it is dropped in and blended into a riff it’s really unique.
So JAWS suffer from keeping too many songs simple. This is great for background play, but stops them from being noticed. Any “Unique ideas are spread too few and far between”, meaning that they themselves may be forgotten.