Jeff Rosenstock

We Cool?

Written by: PP on 16/07/2015 22:08:50

Multi-instrumentalist Jeff Rosenstock is one of those punk rock personalities that you'll have stumbled upon if you've been trawling the underground for new bands to check out. He has guested on more albums that you can count, and is of course better known as the elusive and charismatic frontman for cult legends Bomb The Music Industry!, who were famous for allowing anyone to come to the show with an instrument and join in on the songs. Yet somewhere in this cacophony of sound and different instruments a bright melody always existed in perfect harmony with the crazy chaos, perhaps best exemplified on 2009's "Scrambles".

Now, it's not a coincidence that album is mentioned in this review. "We Cool?", the second solo record by Jeff, is not a traditional punk singer gone solo album with an acoustic guitar and minimalistic interpretations of his main band's sound. Instead, the record is basically "Scrambles" part two, a vibrant record full of warmth, where a multitude of instruments provokes a loud, insane mess of a sound that miraculously comes across as sensible and irresistibly catchy in the end. We're talking pianos dueling against classic rock guitars, acoustic guitar, harmonica, bass, drums, keyboards and the whole ordeal crashing down the stairs inside a functional tumble drier. Choral melodies provide even more noise as Jeff shouts and yelps the emotional lyrics to "Beers Again Alone" that almost break into a scream, drawing a parallel to the very best moments from Bomb The Music Industry! records. This is punk in its original spirit: everything goes. Production values are left purposefully raw to enhance the feeling of utter chaos, which also means you can hear every instrumental glitch and vocal failure in the process. If you think that pretty much sounds like Joyce Manor, then you're spot on because they were hugely influenced by Bomb The Music Industry! prior to their formation. "Nausea" could've practically been on "Never Hungover Again"

At the same time, there are tracks like "I'm Serious, I'm Sorry" that almost sound like The Lawrence Arms songs, that is, if those guys utilized a quiet/loud dynamic as effectively as Rosenstock does here. The verses are minimalistic but are met with cacophonic explosions of noise during the chorus to provide truly special moments. Elsewhere, there's just so much going on simultaneously it's difficult to keep track of what's happening, but that's just part of the charm. Jeff wraps his chaotic soundscape in such a warm, genuine expression despite its lo-fi vibe overall that most punk fans melt on first listen. Do yourself a favor and listen to what is likely the best solo artist record this year. We cool?


Download: Beers Again Alone, You In Weird Cities, Novelty Sweater, Nausea
For the fans of: Bomb The Music Industry!, Joyce Manor, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, The Lawrence Arms
Listen: Facebook

Release date 03.03.2015
SideOneDummy Records

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