I’m writing this review of Jean Pool’s new album, Save the Elephants, and the subsequent album release extravaganza about an hour after leaving the show. I regret that it’s taken me even this long to do it, but I felt that it was urgent to get in the shower as soon as possible to wash away any chance of ringworm. It was hot, humid night in a building with no AC, fans, or open windows, filled with sweaty, moshing punks. It’s that kind of show filth that you don’t notice until after the encore, the lights come on, and you make the transition from Teen Wolf back into a somewhat functional member of society. But, now that I’ve done all I can to mitigate the risk of fungal infections – Jean Pool.
It is absolutely essential to note that every single band that performed tonight deserves praise and accolades. Use Big Words, Electric Sensei, ManDancing, Tula Vera, and Will Wood compromised the rest of this truly impressive lineup and helped to give Jean Pool to badass, hard rocking celebration they deserved. There’s really so much to be said about each of these bands, and I intend to in the foreseeable future, but tonight was about Save the Elephants.
Jean Pool self-released the full-length album on June 6 as a follow-up to their 2015 EP Wet. Save the Elephants delivers on all the psychedelic, noise-punk goodness that fans of the band have come to expect. The first single off the album, “Way Back,” is quite possibly the bands best and most self-evident work. Drummer Brad Odgers acts as the propelling force through the first several bars with his jungle beat, until Dan Barrecchia starts shredding the breakdown after the first verse. This dude’s riffs are so fucking filthy, you’d think they had just clawed their way out of a mosh pit at a Jean Pool show. Still, even though this track is an absolute thrasher, it’s not to be confused with shallower material. Dan Decapio’s lyrics are a reflection of society’s degradation in which “we’re just killing each other for fun,” as opposed to “Way back when we weren’t all trying to kill them/ Way back when everyone was so in love.” The song comes to an end with a breakdown that is unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced, with the fury of all that repressed aggression and rage is released on the audience.
The release show itself, was the type of show that you know as soon as it’s over, that you will remember for a long goddamn time. Given home by a local chapter of the American Legion, this was the kind of throwback, hardcore D.I.Y. show that would give Ian MacKaye a chubby. The linoleum tile floors were slick with the rancid sweat of fallen moshers. The drop ceiling was low enough that crowd surfers had to put their hands out to avoid being lifted through it. At one point, bassist Paul Brushaber was lifted up like a mother fucking rock god as he continued to rip riffs without so much as a flinch. When the show was over, the crowd demanded an encore. Jean Pool tried to say no since they were already running out of time on their booking of the venue and they’d have to pay more if they went over, but eventually obliged the chanting crowd. I don’t know what the penalty was, but I’ve got to assume that feeling of admiration could only be priceless.
Tonight was an example of the full potential of this scene in a number of ways. The fans tonight, came out in force. I can only guess that American Legion must’ve been filled to capacity with the type of crowd that sings Fluffy louder than Decapio on the mic; an Allstar lineup of fellow bands showed their support with their own raucous sets; and last, but certainly not least, Jean Pool demonstrated the level of excellence, talent, and badass authenticity that can be achieved at the local, independent level.
If you have not checked out Saving Elephants, I’m officially adding it to your to-do list, and if you have not seen Jean Pool perform live, I’ll also be adding their show on June 28 with Professor Caveman to your Google Calendar. Thank me later.
Adam gave man-birth to N.J. Racket and is as close to an "editor-in-chief" the site has. He's a god awful photographer.
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