The first hour of JoJo Burger Tempest
is absolutely crazy. It is as diverse a mixtape as anyone could dream to make, slathered in any genre’s wall of noise and taking queues from any band permitted they have pulse, be it the glossy-eyed admiration for Boards of Canada sampled on “Float Bridges” or the ambitious dream pop the band share with Faunts in “Silent Times.” Such a broad spectrum could only be the result of Working For a Nuclear Free City being what it is, which is five guys first and a band later. These guys are a musical democracy, and even if a quintet is, by numbers, an easy democracy, they make it look like utopia. JoJo Burger Tempest
is left open to every ounce of contribution made and in turn caters to every one of its contributors: at times it is fuzz, at times it is pop, at times it is electronica and at times it is guitar-rock. But at all times
it is everyone, an hour (on its first side!) so huge it reflects those age-old assets music so badly needs: confidence and collaboration, and confidence in collaboration.
But as easy as these Manchester louts make mixtapes look, there’s no getting lost in JoJo Burger Tempest
. It’s a mixtape for those who need it and an album for those who seek it out, lending itself to immensely indulgent full listens that run from “Do a Stunt” to the first disc’s bookend, “Buildings.” That’s something their debut, just as jam-packed, could never quite do, and it shows how well these guys can mould their ideas together when they want to. Most of this is attributed to their lightning fast pace which, at its most electrifying, is glorious (“Pachinko,” “Faster Daniel Faster,” amongst others) and at its least, gratifying- there’s room to breathe in “A Black Square With Four Yellow Stars,” and the band let up with the acoustic “Buildings” when the time comes. The first disc of JoJo Burger Tempest
is not only hugely experimental, it has the structured science to back it up: the album, regardless of genre shifts, is designed to have songs play off songs. I could pick any sequence of songs and have them match up in spite of all their paradoxes, with perhaps the greatest example the transition from the dreamy “Float Bridges” to the huge guitar anthem found in “The King and June.” JoJo Burger Tempest
is chaos, alright, but controlled chaos.
At least, it is in its best moments: JoJo Burger Tempest
is madness, succeeding not on having a method to that madness but rather on the assurance of craziness. Its construction is insanity with restraint, musical stream-of-consciousness penned by an overreaching beginning and end. And where Working for a Nuclear Free City fail, they do so because they lose that assurance- there’s a point at which JoJo Burger Tempest
becomes insane and nothing but, and that is its cinematic title number, which is just about the wrong side of crazy. “The JoJo Burger Tempest” is impossible to ignore for ambition alone: it’s a ridiculous thirty-three minute top off for a record already so ridiculous that it could be three, four discs. This title-track is where Working For a Nuclear Free City’s utopia crumbles to the ground and where democracy falls to lusts of power. It is the work of its entity rather than its five friends, created in a thousand fragments that, while microcosmic of the countless influences shown throughout JoJo Burger Tempest
, move lifelessly and pointlessly apart. There are choir rehearsals, sessions of shoegaze and danceable breakdowns, but the radical nature of it all is wasted without collaboration. Here, the guys in Working For a Nuclear Free City don’t know they’re insane, but we do. And I like it better when we’re on the same page. Disc one of JoJo Burger Tempest
succeeds on its craziness, on the organic nature it is contributed to, on its openness. Disc two fails because it is made by crackpots.