Chapter II: I wanna be a boat
Part two of a series of reviews dedicated to the band Jawbreaker in reverse order of the LPs, being the order that I listened to them in.
Whenever I listen to this album, I want to run. Run away from the tentacles designed to suffocate the will out of me, strip my clothing (which is usually some kind of suit in these visceral daydreams), and pick up my significant other to fly away to Saturn, armed only with a Superman Halloween costume and a copy of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Basically, this album kicks your ass until your brain is knocked from its chains that is the skull.
After releasing the noisy and powerful Bivouac, Jawbreaker’s sound needed a change, and who else but the indie legend Steve Albini to capture the band in their truest form. The noise and shoddy production values along with the occasional vocal effects from the past are gone in favor of a simpler and yet more powerful straight-faced hardcore punch to the nose. From the forward and rolling opener “The Boat Dreams from the Hill” to the building and tense closer “In Sadding Around”, there are few moments that deviate from the standard of pummeling punk rock. The exceptions include the soft moaning of “Outpatient”, the meddling around which is only partially annoying for the song “Ache”, and the beautiful and distorted spoken word that closes “Condition Oakland”.
Although never slated or labeled as a concept album, one can’t help but feel a loose narrative to the songs on this album. The album title 24 Hour Revenge Therapy implies a mental institution environment of sorts, and the songs on the album definitely don’t discredit this motif, with the songs acting as pieces of the life of a man desperate and in need of closure. Epic breakup anthems such as “Ashtray Monument” and “Jinx Removing” invite the listener to its own sorrows, and the upbeat pop punk of “Indictment”, “Boxcar”, and “West Bay Invitational” add to the tragedy of the atmosphere in an ironic twist of danceable tunes over sly, tragic lyricism. Call it an asspull if you will, but like all pieces of art, the album is open to interpretation.
To summarize, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is a classic punk album that is catchy as hell, sad as you were in the Freshman year, and it has an awesome title and cover art. Look for it in a hip record store, buy the 2014 re-release because it has more awesome songs and outtakes on it, listen to it, and then start writing a book or something.