I’m a nice guy. Most people will tell you I’m friendly, generous and pleasant to be around. I don’t offend people. I’m polite. And I have good hygiene habits.
But when it comes to music, people care not to argue with me, because then they’ll see my ugly side. I’ll tell them that the Strokes are a boy band covering Lou Reed. I’ll say that Jim Morrison was his generation’s Brandon Boyd. Hell, I’ll even say that Revolver isn’t the best album of all time (ooooooh!!!).
But I realize I’m going to be on the defensive after this next one: I like the Jealous Sound. Yeah, you heard me. I like The Jealous Sound. And why shouldn’t I? They write catchy-as-Hell pop songs, just like all the Weezers and Dashboards are supposedly doing, only a million times better.
Well, The Jealous Sound, they might not be doing anything groundbreaking. And they most certainly epitomize everything that is “emo.” But on their second album, Kill Them With Kindness, for the first time, someone took the tried-and-true emo formula and made something interesting out of it. Other bands of the genre, like The Promise Ring and Saves the Day, made their best albums by straying from their trademark sound. But The Jealous Sound isnï¿½t about going acoustic or being “stripped down.” No, sir, they want to rock you like four skinny dudes sporting sweaters, horn-rimmed glasses and some loud ass guitars.
Okay, to be fair, nobody in the Sound really looks like that. But the guitar part, that’s true. “NaÃ¯ve” boasts some hard-driving rock riffage and “Anxious Arms” sees guitarist Pedro Benito (also of Sunday’s Best) laying down some meaty power chords underneath vocalist and former Knapsack frontman Blair Sheehan’s glorious delivery.
Sheehan’s lyrics go down easy for nice guys like me. Despite some over-sensitivity and overt heart-on-sleeve Morrissey-isms, there’s no denying that this is a life-affirming, joyous celebration. Well, a joyous celebration of failed romances and male angst. But still, it feels good to belt out lyrics like “I will be anxious ahhh-arms/beside myself/and there’s no one else” along with Sheehan.
Kill Them With Kindness is the perfect driving album. All the songs are catchy, keep you awake and most of your friends will like it, though they’ll probably disapprove initially. But it’ll win them over. After all, it did win me over.
Knapsack – This Conversation is Over Starting Right Now
Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
Sundayï¿½s Best – Poised to Break
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.