Chasing The High

Written by: MAK on 27/05/2020 13:35:15

I came across Jet8 last year in London at ska-punk festival Level Up, with little knowledge other than they were part of the mainland Europe contingent on the bill, described as "skacore from Prague". They unleashed an aggressive, horn-filled barrage of hardcore that attack the ears and imprinted themselves onto the brains of many that caught the set. Just a handful of month later, we were treated to Jet8's new album "Chasing The High".

The first notable thing to say, in the strictest terms, skacore feels like a lazy way to describe Jet8. Other than the typical horn segments, there really isn't any "ska "involved. At least not on this album, and even on previous works I've found that element to be at minimal. There is more influence from hardcore, pop-punk and melodic skate punk. Right from the off with "Caught In Pliers", crunchy as hell grooves are thrown at us with a layer of a horn melody placed on top for an extra accent. The tempo is high, the vocals are a mixture of sung and shouted in the verse and the chorus is laden with catchy gang vocals designed to make the listener join in. This sounds like easycore with horns, and that distinction flows perfectly in the follow-up song, "Sooner Than You Think," I feel like I'm listening to a Four Year Strong song during the chorus with yet more gang vocals and a breakdown-filled bridge. All the while the horns don't feel essential, but they add a nice element, much like keys might.

Title track "Chasing The High" showcases more of that melodic skate punk side, with a hint of hardcore. The main riff is somewhat fiddly and with a nice level of distortion. Backed by semi shout-sung vocals. Yet the chorus is incredibly catchy, pop-punk esque, creating such a fun atmosphere, with the horn section playing more of a part in creating a rather memorable hook. "Between The Lines" comes in with a bang, coarse, shouted vocals on top of bouncy hardcore like grooves and chugs, it's a pit starter or one to get the crowd jumping for sure, though it evolves into a more melodic track with more catchy hooks to sink your teeth into.

Anthems come in fast, as a remastered version of "Be the Best at All the Bad" hits in a relentless manner. An intro of steady fast beats and a punchy horn section lead right into a bouncy melodic skate punk bopper with an infectious chorus. This is another track where the horn section truly grabs your attention with a hooking melody placed on top of chuggy breakdowns. Die Alone breaks the trend of catchy skate punk vibes, it's a bruiser consisting of influences of modern and 90s metalcore, blended with hardcore and some skacore. The intro is soft with plucky melodies and a spoken word segment that is reminiscent to August Burns Red of all bands, this pushes into headbanging riffs and shouted vocals that soon break off into fast-paced riffs, beats and urgent horns, like I'm listening to The JunK.

Helping Hand has a similar feel to "Chasing The High", with more emphasis on letting the horn section shine, giving the melodies a more prominent part, as well as the ever so catchy gang vocal filled chorus. "Minute To Midnight" is an ode to the UK ska-punk scene, and even has a guest vocal appearance from Faintest Idea's Dani Rascal. It's a political anthem, asking "How will we survive?" in a world where people would rather spend their money on things that aren't important instead of focusing on the planet. "Down and Out" follows as the most diverse track on the album, mixing from hip-hop fronted skate punk vocals early on to a poppy chorus and back end that featuring ferocious hardcore elements, such as throat tearing rears and deeper chords to get your headbanging. This suits the album closer "Golden Cage" perfectly which opens in the same heavy manner, heavy, groove-metal type riffs topped off by punchy horns. The chorus comes in like an epic sing-along, as the verse switches from punk hardcore like Miozan to more melodic hardcore vibes in the chorus.

I bring up the not typically skacore point, not as a dig at the band. My point would be that this album is perfectly listenable to fans of skacore, but it's more accessible for those that are more into their straight-up skate punk and hardcore instead of ska. Jet8 have a much wider sound, that is more designed for mosh pits than skank pits. These are very enjoyable anthems, there is a huge live sound approach to these songs, with plenty of layered vocals that make you feel like you're surrounded by people singing along. As a fan of skankable tracks, I would have liked at least one or two tracks like "Thumbs Down" to get my knees up, however, at the same time, the album is a solid listen without such additions.


Download: Chasing The High, Be the Best at All the Bad, Minute to Midnight
For The Fans Of: The Dancing Morons, Random Hand, The Filaments

Release date 17.01.2020
Self Released

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