Jawbreaker
24 Hour Revenge Therapy


4.5
superb

Review

by MrUnderstanding18 USER (18 Reviews)
June 7th, 2010 | 3 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Frequently imitated, never bettered.

Jawbreaker were one of the bands that truly amounted to so much more than the sum of their parts. Comprised of three talented musicians -guitarist/vocalist Blake Schwarzenbach, bassist Chris Bauermeister, and drummer Adam Pfahler - the trio transcended their limitations and made music that was in the same breath bracing and melancholic. Schwarzenbach's lyrics gave them a depth and resonance which meant they were a considerable cut above their contemporaries, and his raw delivery of them only heightened their emotional punch. This combination permeated their first three albums, and morphed into a different beast on Dear You, which is a fine album in its own right. The nakedness of feeling and musical muscle were still there, but issued in a more meditative style. This served to alienate some fans and bring in others, but there is one thing about the Californian trio that is rarely disputed.

That being that 24 Hour Revenge Therapy is indisputably their zenith.

Heading into the studio with renowned producer Steve Albini, Jawbreaker set to work on what was to be their masterpiece. It incorporated both the brash, up-tempo style of Unfun and the grit of Bivouac, and meshed both into an inspired whole. There are several things about 24 Hour that make it so very wonderful, the first of which is the lyrical content. Blake Schwarzenbach mines a deep vein of heartbreak, loneliness and nostalgia, but in such a transcendent fashion that he makes old themes ring out with a whole new relevance. To name but one instance is in 'Ashtray Monument', which depicts the remains of a shattered marriage; "Remember our life / I did the dishes while you read out loud / Best friends, strangers now / Were our kids all we could call common ground?". The image generated carries a real emotive punch, but without being contrived. Another is in the coruscating, five-minute plus epic 'Condition Oakland'; "Read and I felt so small. / Some words keep speaking / When you close the book". Schwarzenbach's lyrics are never anything less than resonant.

The music of 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, meanwhile, lays the perfect backdrop to this nuanced, multi-faceted piece of frustration as art. Bauermeister's bass is uncluttered and focused; the mix does not squash it down, a common mistake of punk bands, but lets it add its own element to the band's sound. Pfalher's drums are absolutely watertight, keeping time perfectly while tossing off smart fills with consummate economy and precision - note the flawless switches in time signature and pattern on 'Condition Oakland' and 'Jinx Removing'. And Schwarzenbach's growling six-string work rides over the top, being loud but not overpowering, working as part of the trio rather than a dominant force. These three men produce powerful, grinding punk rock which keeps a strong element of melody - "Do You Still Hate Me?" is a fantastic exploration of the bewilderment following a vicious break-up, and is one of the catchiest tunes on offer here, 'Ache' gives wistfulness poetic exploration with a gentler tempo, and 'Outpatient' slows the pace for a moment to delve into Schwarzenbach's experiences during his throat surgery, elevating medical snapshots to another raw piece of rock music.

24 Hour Revenge Therapy perfectly encapsulates a moment in time; that moment being when life takes away rather than gives. Although the music has its share of cheery, almost poppy moments, the lyrical content is mostly dark and tumultuous. Even 'The Boat Dreams From The Hill', which appears whimsical and bouncy, actually works as a metaphor for unfulfilled dreams. But it surpasses being 'just' a break-up album or 'just' one which explores deep feelings. It is a high water mark of punk rock music, and one which deserves a place in any collection.

Simply superb.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
June 7th 2010


51216 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album/review.

Skimaskcheck
June 7th 2010


2364 Comments


dam i need this! still need to hear Dear You properly in all

Foxhound
June 7th 2010


4573 Comments


i should get this too.



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