Maybe there are only so many career paths a band can follow, but sometimes the parallels run awful tightly. When Minus the Bear released their debut EP four years ago, they straddled the line between emo and indie rock right into both audiences’ collective hearts. Sure, there’s a sizable built-in overlap between the two, but fully appealing to the sensibilities of both crowds was nonetheless impressive. The Jade Shader’s debut EP Curse of the Tuatara finds them navigating the same course, with a hand similarly trailing off either side of the boat. Featuring members of No Knife and Boilermaker (both bands from a not-so-distant past where the line was significantly less distinct), the meshing of the two couldn’t be more natural.
Now this is not to say The Jade Sharer are simply following an over-treaded path. In the place of Minus’ guitar-tap meanderings, The Jade Sharer reach for a minor-key gloom; rather than a hazy cosmic jive, they opt for a crispness that stands in contrast to their own dissonance.
The first track off Curse of the Tuatara opens with both the strongest and the weakest aspects the EP: a sullen atmosphere and a less-than-stunning vocal. A saturnine key line supports a melody that feels a bit too separate from the song behind it. It’s unfortunate, too, as it’s the same sharpness in production and differentiation between sounds that allows for an offhanded but decisive moodiness as leaves the vocals floating too far above the rest. But this one complaint aside, The Jade Sharer arrive with a comfortable melancholy layered with sharp guitars and math/jazzy rhythms. At a concise almost-twenty minutes, Curse of the Tuatara showcases a very capable band finding its footing.
Minus the Bear’s EP This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic debuted a band just shy of locking in. Their first full-length found them fully realizing a sound (and a blossoming popularity) they continue to build upon. With any luck, The Jade Shader should find themselves plenty able to continue the parallel.
Boilermaker – Boilermaker
Minus the Bear – This is What I Know About Being Gigantic
The Casket Lottery – Survival is For Cowards