On The Jealous Girlfriends’ My Space page, a writer states that “The Jealous Girlfriends make it work.” Although certainly meant as a compliment, this writer will go at least one step further. The Jealous Girlfriends don’t just make it work, they take varying musical ideas and influences, and put together the most creative, enjoyable and interesting new music release of 2008. The only album I would put in the same class as the Jealous Girlfriends’ self titled release, is the better known Arcade Fire’s “Neon Bible.” Both blend various musical influences, and out of the box thinking and writing, to create extremely interesting and creative albums.
What makes The Jealous Girlfriends release such an enjoyable listening experience? It is hard to summarize in a sentence or two, but put succinctly, they have “it.” A foursome comprised of Holly Miranda, Josh Abbott, Alex Lipsen, and Michael Fadem, they play as if they were a larger band. The reason for this is that they have very different musical ideas going on within the same song. Yet despite this detracting from the songs, they mix these different influences together to create sometimes beautiful, sometimes haunting, often introspective, and always rocking songs. Crunching guitars will play off of melodic synth/keyboards. Josh Abbott’s lower, sometimes rougher sounding voice will contrast and blend wonderfully with Holly Miranda’s smooth lilting vocals. Behind it all Mike Fadem keeps a solid beat going on the drums, and does a wonderful job slowly building the tempo into a crescendo when the songs call for it.
The album is chock full of catchy, ear pleasing rock and roll songs. To pick out a few favorites from this album is extremely difficult. Two of the highlights in particular however would have to be “ I Quit” and “Don’t Leave Your Organs on The Kitchen Floor.” Back to back on the album, they encompass much of what is so great about The Jealous Girlfriends and their self titled release. “I Quit” starts with some weird sounding buzzing feedback, sounding like bees, flowing into piercing guitars and the dual vocals of Josh and Holly singing “It’s safe to say, that I think you owe me, you owe me in the very worst way, uhh-huh. And the right to beg like a full moon dog, and the full moon has seen it’s last days.” The song then picks up some uplifting synthesizer sounds that give the listener the feeling of soaring as the band goes into the chorus of the song. So is the song modern indie, 80’s new wave, or garage rock? The answer is all of the above in one juicy three and one half minute rock and roll morsel!
“Don’t Leave Your Organs on The Kitchen Floor” continues the extremely smart and witty songwriting, both musically and lyrically. Starting off with an electric piano, sounding like it was being played in a smoky jazz/blues club, the song slowly builds with the help of Mike Fadem’s concise drumming. Eventually, Holly opens the song with the mournful, “So you say you wanna go, well then don’t hesitate. It’s been so long since you’ve been clear on anything”. Piercing, angry guitars chime in to heighten the sense of pain and anger as Holly and the band move into the cold chorus “Don’t leave your organs on the kitchen floor. And don’t forget to close the door.” Again, is the song a slow, bluesy ballad? Or is it a painful heartfelt rocker? Again the answer is both. And the result is one of the smartest, most well written songs of the year.
The whole self titled release by The Jealous Girlfriends is like this! Defying one single genre, The Jealous Girlfriends artfully craft one of the most interesting and creative rock and roll albums you are likely to come across in quite awhile. I heartily give it my highest rating of 5 stars!!