Alicia Jeanine – Vocals & Guitar
Jed Smith – Drums & Bass
- Either Way
- Winter In The Dark
- Where We Go
- Hits The Bone
- Where I Stand
- Too Late
- No Home
- You Were Mine
- In This House
- All The Same
- Falling Off My Feet Again
- Is It Real
- Wake Up
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Jeanines release their debut album on Slumberland Records. On the eponymous album are 16 very short songs, mostly under two minutes each, which the band describe as minor-key pop. This is very much in the DIY, Indie bracket, Alicia Jeanine provides vocals and guitar, while Jed Smith covers drums and bass, live they also have an additional guitarist, whose name they do not reveal. This is the 60s meets the 80s, a random mix of styles with a vein of misery running through, dark lyrics that reflect a melancholic attitude, so if you are after a joyous listen this is not for you.
The album cover prepares you for the music within, a photo of a forgotten corner of a dismal 80s council estate, similarly the music is drab, unexciting and needs fixing. Think the depressiveness of The Beatles, combined with a female Indie band, like The Cardigans or The Cranberries but then tuned out of key and left to do drunk karaoke in the bar.
Starting with ‘Either Way’, in a plaintive tone, Alicia whines over an upbeat drum rhythm and happy sounding guitar, it is already obvious that it is her voice that is off-putting and irritating. Get used to the tempo, as it is the same throughout, ‘Winter In The Dark’ is banal, high pitched and tinny. ‘Enough’ is aptly titled, and uninspiring.
The shortest track at less than a minute, is ‘Where We Go’ and it sounds like the drummer got carried away at soundcheck, his enthusiasm has to be admired but it goes no-where in the end. From the shortest to the longest track, just over two and a half minutes of purgatory, ‘Hits The Bone’ whines away, it reminds me of a track but veers away enough to stop me being able to put my finger on which. The guitar work is similar to busking, it needs work on the track ‘Where I Stand’ while the ending seems like they just got bored and gave up.
Thud, thud, thud, the repetitiveness of the drumming is wearing, by ‘Too Late’ I have lost interest totally, there is no saving this. A shrillness of the vocal, a basic guitar chord progression, ‘No Home’ is annoying and then with ‘You Were Mine’ the singing takes a turn downwards, the drunk karaoke has now starting on the shots, and this song has very weird long notes on some of the words, which are just bad. ‘Why’ is the question I would ask the producer of this album, I presume they needed the money because it doesn’t show them in any great light.
Very much like The Beatles in style, ‘In This House’ is certainly reminiscent of something they created, and equally morose and off key. ‘All The Same’ sums up the album perfectly, not one track stands out as offering anything different, it lacks imagination and fails to demonstrate any song-writing skills or ability with instruments. Next is ‘Gone’, which is mundane and dismal at best.
‘Falling Off My Feet Again’ is a cover of The Siddeleys song, and no I have no idea who The Siddeleys are or what they did to deserve being covered by this band, it must have been a punishment for something. The lyrics hit home though, ‘I want no more of this’, however unfortunately there are still two more songs to go. ‘Is It Real’ continues just as the rest, it’s almost as if these songs were the rough drafts and now they need to start to work on turning them into songs. Finally we reach ‘Wake Up’, at which point we can hope this was all just a bad dream.
Sixteen monotonous tracks, the only saving factor is that they are short, so the agony is brief and soon over. Even with so many tracks, it’s still less than thirty minutes in total. The guitar work is like it’s from the early 60s, before musicians really worked out how to make the guitar sing, so it plods through in a rock n’ roll sense, which no skill or finesse, just basic chords and no excitement. The drumming is pretty much the same through every track, no change of pace or interesting rhythm changes, so even the music doesn’t save it from the awful vocals. One to avoid.