Andrew Jackson Jihad
Can't Maintain


4.0
excellent

Review

by robin EMERITUS
October 9th, 2009 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Electric guitars make for a controversial album... or just a good one?

Nothing, apparently, says DIY like an acoustic guitar. At least, in the case of folk punk. Ghost Mice protest like they’re tackling temptation - they only used an amp this one time live, and that was it. Paul Baribeau smacks and thumps at the thing more than he plays it, but you can bet that his strings don’t go by amp either. And as for Andrew Jackson Jihad – the genre’s indie favourites – the first reaction I heard to them was along the lines of “I’d hate for them to use electric guitars”. Can’t Maintain is Jihad’s second, maybe third (they aren’t counting) album, and you can just about guess how opener “Heatilation” goes.

This isn’t to say electric guitars were null and void from their music until now, but they certainly got tucked away behind their better and booming comfort-zone. Namely, one member taps all over a double bass while the other strums his heart and fingers red. The instruments on the whole were skin and bone, much in the vein of what came out of them with People That Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World. On that album, the duo also had skin and bone opinions: God doesn’t exist, cocaine is the worst and smoking varies on a scale of evil to cool. The effect – a quick and bare blast of thinking and playing – was hugely successful.

“Heartilation” is no different from the band’s back catalogue – in terms if it being speedy, angry and all in all fun – aside from the fact that they rock out louder than ever thanks to a trusty amplifier or two. Ultimately though, you can tell it’s the very same band because “Self Esteem” follows the song with the very same hyperbolic and no electric guitar in sight. Both songs - insanely catchy and over in a grand two minutes – set the album’s pace at the highest bar possible, but it certainly returns. To any nostalgic fans, “Sense & Sensibility”, “Who Are You?” and “Truckers are the Blood” are the same universal people-songs the band can’t stop creating: more sing-alongs about the worst things they can think of.

Can’t Maintain actually injects another dimension into Andrew Jackson Jihad that moves away from the attitude of People. Whereas the latter put a non-existent God in stitches with “Rejoice”, the band here seem in a new (but ever-simple) line of thought: “Don’t know if I believe in God but sometimes I pray”. Whether a newly gained perspective or just some sort of irony, this line of thought seems to reflect through the album as they battle with the familiar world of folk punk and any unfamiliar world possible; sometimes it works, with “Olde(y) Tyme(y)” being an aptly-titled one minute lapse into optimism. Equally, “Kazoo Sonata In C Major” is an aptly-titled, similarly optimistic joke gone horribly wrong.

Perhaps, however, the band’s brief triumph in anger-management is simply hatred building up steam: on Can’t Maintain the duo might also be the most direct they’ve ever been, “We Didn’t Come Here To Rock” being the most defensive song to my mind since Say Anything’s “Admit It!!!” It’s crude (“If that’s what gets your dick hard/telling people that they’re bad at making art"), it’s true to its word (enjoy two minutes of ambience), and it probably hates this review.

While a stream of demos, splits and EPs have put Andrew Jackson Jihad on the map, Can’t Maintain should define their sound for good.



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user ratings (322)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Nick Butler EMERITUS (3.5)
Sloppy and sincere, this is one of the better rock records this year....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2009


17222 Comments


i need this

robin
Emeritus
October 9th 2009


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dont you just : )

Roach
October 9th 2009


2148 Comments


good review Robin

robin
Emeritus
October 9th 2009


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thank you kane!

XXXpickemgenius
October 9th 2009


139 Comments


I will go check this out now.

nice review.

NotMrBlonde
October 9th 2009


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I was checking daily for a review for this.

Pretty great one too.

robin
Emeritus
October 10th 2009


4249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thx
didn't realise anyone had even noticed it was out

PanasonicYouth
November 10th 2009


7412 Comments


man i gotta admit the full band thing threw me off for a bit but this is realllllllllly good
specially sense, sensibility

Roach
November 23rd 2009


2148 Comments


not as good as their last album but still pretty great

NotMrBlonde
December 1st 2009


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ordered this on vinyl for myself for Christmas.

: D

PanasonicYouth
January 31st 2010


7412 Comments


i just got a copy on vinyl
shit is sexy

NotMrBlonde
February 6th 2010


395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The vinyl is so sexy and pink.

TheGrasser
July 10th 2010


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favorite albums of the year so far.

ihopeuchoke
July 25th 2010


668 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

THis album always plays at my work. I love it so much. Makes me like 10 times more productive

PanasonicYouth
August 3rd 2010


7412 Comments


SO YOU'LL GO YOUR WAY AND I'LL GO MINE
I HOPE WE MEET LATER ON DOWN THE LINE

bungy
November 17th 2010


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Are these guys worth a six hour drive both ways?

cvlts
November 17th 2010


8967 Comments


wat? where?

bungy
November 17th 2010


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

El Corazon en el Seattle

cvlts
November 17th 2010


8967 Comments


$10? hell ya

bungy
November 17th 2010


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

might have to lie to one of my friends and say we're going to see Linkin Park so I can convince someone to go with me to spilt gas money



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