This time out, the sometimes retro-headed five piece hailing from the Southern suburbs of Sydney, Australia have something different in mind. Their self-produced debut EP is a showcase set.
Inside of five tracks, the band is hoping to earn enough traction to expand their presence beyond the Sydney music scene. And for the most part, The Jones Rival proves it can do it with garage rock filling and psychedelic glaze. While there are some slips, the EP is a solid self-produced debut.
The Jones Rival EP serves up hooks and howls from Australia.
The EP opens with Cults, a no-frills roots rocker that does a good job drawing anyone into the EP. It starts with guitar supported vocals before transitioning into a fuller mid-tempo five piece. With the entire song playing out in under two minutes, the pace feels just right,
The lyrics are equally tight albeit less about cults and more about testing friendship with favors and forces opinions. What makes the words really work is that The Jones Rival cuts right to the point. All friendships have break points. Nothing lasts forever.
If there is a downside to the song, it's in the unfortunate production. The track is spliced together too much, making some sections (including the first transition) sound as if they were recorded in different rooms (including the vocals). The tonal change, even in the vocals, is too severe not to notice.
The second track doesn't have those kinds of problems. Busted is the labor of love that we expected from The Jones Rival. Everything about the track works — with just the right amount of full band sound and individual instrument finesse.
Busted is exactly the kind of groove you hope to get out of a band like The Jones Rival. There is a timelessness to the track, one that captures the energy of their live performances and the craftsmanship of their best material.
It's also why the third track becomes a bit of a diaster. The song itself has potential, but the production and mixing sound like it was either rushed to completion or drummer Shaun Gaida convinced the band to give him some additional liberties. While there are some finer pieces that could be pulled out in a remix, it's largely unlistenable in this state.
Skip the track and go right to Ketamine. It's a smartly produced psychedelic breakdown with two acts. After opening with a Doors-inspired beat (but not nearly as dark), Ketamine drifts into a trippy atmospheric confessional before the band builds it all back up. With so much room for solos, Ketamine feels like the band's crown jewel in composition.
Broke Up ends the album on a significantly simplified note. As it follows Ketamine, it almost feels like the band is catching their breath and easing into a conclusion. It's not necessarily a memorable song, but it provides a nice fill between bigger tracks like Busted and Ketamine.
The Jones Rival EP Gins Up 6.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
The EP would have likely gone much further for the band without the unfortunate third track mix and spliced together opener. But we're still bullish on The Jones Rival. Add Busted, Ketamine, and Broke Up to Jumpin' Frog and Tell You Again, and you'll have the EP this could have been.