Jimmies Chicken Shack
Bring Your Own Stereo


4.5
superb

Review

by BigHans USER (108 Reviews)
December 11th, 2009 | 34 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A criminally underrated and superb party rock album from the 90's.

Jimi Haha had the right idea. The glaring problem is it arrived about 4 years too late.

In the mid to late 90’s, as post grunge one hit wonders came and went, some of the more successful and/or critically acclaimed bands of the era blended pop hooks with lighthearted funk, ska, and reggae to create stellar party music that was well received by most and sold truckloads of records. While Spacehog wondered what the hell happened after “In the Meantime” lost its radio clout, it’s hard to argue that the decade was anything but phenomenal from a success standpoint for bands like RHCP, Sublime, Sugar Ray, and 311. As the decade came to a close however, the musical scene changed dramatically with post grunge being replaced by the even more critically panned genre of nu metal, and critically lauded hipster garage/faux punk bands taking center stage over party led surf funk.

Jimmies Chicken Shack is the brainchild of said lead guitarist and vocalist Jimi Haha. Although a full band is present, the entire backing lineup has changed on every album. After receiving some indie cred on 1997’s “Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope,” Haha decided to blend several popular styles of music from the 90’s into a sprawling 13 track release that was clearly written with the intent to break through. Unfortunately, a combination of bad timing and poor record company backing led to a quick demise to an album that should have been huge. It’s a shame, because 1999’s “Bring Your Own Stereo” is a must have record.

At heart, “Bring Your Own Stereo” is a party record. The sonic elements would fit at home in a frat house, a Corona Commercial, or a stoner’s basement. Using primarily upbeat tempos and sing along structures, JCS weaves interchangeable elements of surf rock, funk metal, post grunge simplicity, poppy acoustics, and even shoegaze set atop a barrage of good time stoner anthems and quasi power ballads. The differing genre elements are scattered throughout the record with no clear order, but the intent is clear. JCS was not shooting for depth, and although they ironically achieved it in certain spots, the finished product most closely resembles the atmosphere of Sugar Ray infused with a set of teeth and a much needed shot of talent.

There are three types of tracks on this album, ranging from intentionally immature power chord infused sing along anthems to beach laced acoustic jams and finishing with yearning yet strongly effective balladry. The aforementioned slacker anthems are the most prevalent on the first part of the disc, and were clearly the intended highlights. Immature lyrics are fused with funk, jazz, and even ska mixed with power chords to set the intended theme of the album. First single “Do Right,” with its enormously simple power chord laced verses and sing along chorus, is the only well known cut. Second single “Trash” follows a similar formula, although instead of bitching about a controlling girlfriend, Haha is pleading for said girlfriend to tell her mother to cease referring to him as a piece of refuse. “Lazy Boy Dash” is another driving simplistic feel good anthem, only this time the protagonist is similar to Billy Joe in “Longview,” a fitting and hilarious ode to sloth like behavior. Finally, the horribly titled yet effective “Ooh” stands out as arguably the strongest rocking track present despite the fact the guitar riff is more simplistic than “Santa Monica.” As a whole, this bookend of the album effectively provides the intended rollicking good time experience.

Although the above mentioned party tracks are the intended center point, they are ultimately not the greatest strength. Amidst the slacker innuendo, JCS crafted four overwhelmingly strong mid tempo quasi ballads that add depth and vault the album from guilty pleasure to borderline essential. The difference in sound, structure, and theme is hugely dramatic. The strongest, “Waiting,” is the best song on the album and should have been the first single. An anthemic track about unrequited love, “Waiting” masterfully intertwines yearning acoustics with heavier, shout along refrains. “Fill in the Blank” and “Silence Again” follow a similar theme, although both are sonically heavier. Driven by a post grunge saturated riff, “Fill in the Blank” contains some of the better word play from the record with lines like “up close, beauty is far more scary,” and should have replaced “Trash” as single number two. “Silence Again” is simplistic yet passionate. The album closer, “30 Days” is the only real ballad. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a barely heard synth that sounds like ocean waves, this would hold up well on a Ben Harper or Jack Johnson album. 30 Days stands as one of the albums strongest tracks, and is the epitome of “chill” music.

Rounding out the album is a collection of average to above average tracks with only one filler. “Spiraling” and “String of Pearls” are mid tempo acoustic beach jams that mostly hit. “Pure” invokes elements of shoegaze with a riff reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins, and “Face It” is mostly an average post grunge sing along. “Let’s Get Flat” is the filler, and for full disclosure is one of the worst songs ever written, bad enough to drop the album rating a half point.

“Bring Your Own Stereo” is the type of album that most music aficionados have somewhere in their collection. The one that they thoroughly enjoy despite its relative obscurity, and the one they better yet relish introducing to other people. Successfully melding several elements of musical genres, this is party music and mainstream rock balladry done right, an impressive and incredibly rare task to accomplish, especially at the same time. In short, if this album had been distributed and promoted properly, and wasn’t introduced right as the musical landscape was changing, it would have been huge. Unless you are looking for an exceptional amount of depth, download this, grab a 12 pack, and wish you would have discovered this ten years ago.

Recommended Tracks:

Waiting
Fill in the Blank
Silence Again
30 Days
Do Right
Lazy Boy Dash
Ooh
Spiraling



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Inveigh
December 11th 2009


25025 Comments


Wow, I totally forgot this band even existed.. good review though, it actually has me interested in finding this somewhere and giving it a listen. Although I'm probably much more apt to appreciate it in the summertime.

timbo8
December 11th 2009


618 Comments


great review. One of these days I'll finally get around to listening to this. Maryland Represent!

BigHans
December 11th 2009


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Inveigh, this is definitely a summer album. Its one of those you put on when you feel like driving around and throwing a few back. Timbo, thanks for the pos.

Inveigh
December 11th 2009


25025 Comments


Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking this album might be like dude. Totally forgot to pos your review man, have one now ;-)

Willie
Moderator
December 11th 2009


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, great album. I think more people on this site would appreciate "Pushing the Salminella Envelope" just because it's more metal oriented.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

eggsvonsatan
December 11th 2009


1087 Comments


Wow, I totally forgot this band even existed..

You took the words out of my mouth. I think these guys are from around my neck of the woods. Reminds me of some good times in middle school.

Willie
Moderator
December 11th 2009


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, too bad the album after this mixes the fun songs like the ones on this album with Staind-influenced crap.

BigHans
December 12th 2009


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Salminilla Envelope is definitely less diverse. Truth be told, I think it kind of blows, especially compared to this.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
December 12th 2009


2688 Comments


Oh my God, this album is amazing.

BigHans
December 12th 2009


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Indeed it is.

random
December 15th 2009


2267 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've only heard Do Right and High by this band.

Willie
Moderator
December 15th 2009


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Truth be told, I think it kind of blows, especially compared to this.

They're both good albums, and both pretty different from each other. I'd recommend either one.
I've only heard Do Right and High by this band.

Those are the two perfect songs to hear from them. If you like "Do Right" you get this album, if you like "High" then you get
Pushing the Salmonella Envelope".

BigHans
April 27th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bumping this because its summer and everyone needs to get this.

Willie
Moderator
April 27th 2010


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's too bad that they went downhill after this...

BigHans
April 27th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Big time.

Willie
Moderator
April 27th 2010


16049 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Another band that I never got to see live before they started to suck.

Inveigh
April 27th 2010


25025 Comments


Do Right was great, and now it's time for Inveigh to make good on his promise

BigHans
April 27th 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Do Right is a good party song, but its one of the album's weaker overall songs. Waiting, Fill in the Blank, Lazy Boy Dash, 30 Days, Silence Again, and Trash all rule.

Skip Lets Get Flat, its an absolutely atrocious song.

Inveigh
April 27th 2010


25025 Comments


I'll keep that in mind haha

SteelErectedb4you8er
April 27th 2010


2618 Comments


Damn, I forgot about this band.



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