The Jealous Sound's new album a nostalgia-filled ride

In the music industry, nine years seems an eternity.

Nine years expands beyond the shelf life of most top 40 artists. Nine years is enough time for popular music to go from heralding Chingy as a legitimate music option to praising Skrillex as the future of modern music.

For Los Angeles-based indie rock band The Jealous Sound, nine years was just enough time to put the finishing touches on the band’s sophomore album, “A Gentle Reminder.”

The group’s 2003 debut album “Kill Them With Kindness” was enough to marginally put the band on the map and garner attention from then-popular band The Ataris, who brought The Jealous Sound on tour. The album gained enough of a following to be named to Spin magazine’s top 40 albums of 2003.

The band has not been completely dormant in their near decade-long absence from the music scene either. In October 2008, the band released the short, five-song EP “Got Friends” that proved the band still showed signs of life.

However, the release wasn’t met with the same fanfare many Jealous Sound faithful were hoping for. On the Village Voice website, blogger Zach Baron explained the band broke up in 2005 after trying to record music for a follow-up to “Kill Them With Kindness.”

“These three songs — and two remixes — are reported to be spares from those sessions, the last shreds of material recorded before (lead singer Blair) Shehan went crazy and more or less disappeared,” Baron wrote.

It seemed the release was nothing more than a posthumous gesture of scrapped material before the band broke up. Yet in the wake of the confusion surrounding the band’s future, a blog appeared on the group’s MySpace page in February 2009, entitled “There is hope for us....”

The post was short and to the point: “Thank you all for standing by our side .... We will post something with a little more detail soon. Promise. Love, The Jealous Sound.”

After years of darkness, there was a new positivity about the band. With a confirmed tour with Sunny Day Real Estate, the band set aside its differences and got back to what it did best: make great music.

For fans who stuck with the group through its indefinite hiatus, “A Gentle Reminder” will be a nostalgia-filled experience. The album may not have the same intensity and passion as “Kill Them With Kindness,” but it’s enough to remind listeners why they fell in love with the quartet in the first place.

Shehan’s voice is gritty and honest as ever, albeit more hushed than on prior releases. The band’s anthem-like chord progressions and earnest songwriting beg for listeners to sing along.

One of the album’s highlights, “Here Comes the Ride,” is found nestled in the middle of the album. The storytelling feel of the lyrics is reminiscent of 2003’s “Recovery Room” and show the album’s sincere elements: “It was a love so big / It was bigger than me / So release your hand, love / And I’ll set you free.”

It isn’t until the album’s closing track, “Waiting For Your Arrival,” that we find the album’s true cornerstone. The song makes the past nine years without a proper full-length release from the band worth waiting for.

Those that found solace in “Hope For Us” or “Anxious Arms” nine years ago won’t find the same emotion on the release, but as the band has surely matured in nine years, so have we - the listeners.

“A Gentle Reminder” is exactly what it suggests: a gentle reminder of the passionate angst we knew as youth.

 

Reach the reporter at tpaxton@asu.edu


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.