Jets to Brazil, Orange Rhyming Dictionary
The real problem with this album..if you want to call it a problem, is that the second track ‘Morning New Disease’ is so fucking rocking It’s so vastly superior to every other track that it’s hard to be objective about the rest. Do I not like the rest of the album because it’s bad? or is it because I want to go back to track 2?
Let me dodge the questions..
Jets to Brazil lead Schwarzenbach hails from Jawbreaker (who I’m told used to rock before ‘Dear You’). I kind of like Dear You, but I really dislike Bivouac. And I fucking love ‘Boat Dreams From The Hill.’ This is all prologue to my point. Jawbreaker moved up the alternative food chain to DGC (anyone remember that label?) They got Rob Cavallo to produce Dear You, because Butch Vig’s 15 minutes had run out (Rob did the Muffs and Green Day). Unfortunately for us (my point) is that Schwazenbach liked the production on Dear You and duplicated it for Orange Rhyming Dictionary (you’ve heard the sound before..14 guitars playing a power chord..no air in the mic..) the production on Orange Rhyming Dictionary sounds bad. which is to say it sounds like every other ‘punk’ album. Can someone please just put a room mic on a little amp? I don’t know if you’ve ever played a guitar, but they don’t sound like they do on Orange Rhyming Dictionary.
To end positively..
“Morning New Disease” is almost worth the purchase price.
And though Schwarzenbach pronounces words like a gruff Northern-European automaton speaking English, the accent makes his lyrics, like ‘the robots in their riot gear/glimmer in my rearview mirror’ sound more believable. Who better than an android foreigner to narrate such tales of industrial apocalypse?
The lyrics are clearly a progression from Jawbreaker, but with more than a salutary nod to automatic writing. Whatever walked across Blake’s brain, he just said. I’ve heard several derogatory comments about the lyrics, so this seems to be the big sticking point for a lot of people. Phrases like ‘experimental bathroom’ come out of nowhere. While vague ‘automatic’ lyrics are not bad when they pass right by you, Jets’ lyrics are right there for me to read. I think that might be a point against also. If they’d just get me to produce and design their art, they’d be alright.