Review : Jaill - Traps
PitchforkFor those of a certain age, liking the kind of music Jaill make-- alternately classified as power-pop or jangle-pop-- was once a golden ticket to coolness, if you got in with the right crowd. The sort of self-consciously smart guitar music, which started leaking from college towns and working-class cities in the wake of punk, was positioned directly against the stuff coming from the power centers of New York, L.A., or London, championed as the product of local scenes. Whiffs of classic rock largesse commingled amidst minor British-invasion nods, all presented in an unapologetically geeky manner, appealing to those for whom record stores were the primary sites to accumulate cultural capital.
Traps is Jaill's third album and their second on Sub Pop. It mingles the barely contained frustrations of OG wimp-rockers (and fellow Milwaukeeans) Violent Femmes with a hearty Midwestern fondness for riffs and boss solos, while replacing that trio's anti-folk underpinings with a bit of swagger from Athens power-pop godheads the dB's. The result is idiosyncratic pop-rock appealing to geeky outsiders and scene lifers that's perennially in short supply, largely by design: Too much of this stuff would eliminate its need to exist in the first place.
In other words, if everyone's hip, then no one's hip. If you've heard of Jaill before reading this review, it's likely because of their infectious, strutting 2010 single that picked apart the paradox of social striving. Two years later, that perspective has changed a bit, perhaps soured with age. To wit: "Everyone's a Bitch", Traps' anti-anthem outfitted with janky Cheap Trick riffs, which Vinnie Kircher elbows past to announce: "Everyone's a bitch tonight. I must admit that I've been feeling like I want to die." Traps is filled with acidic observations of this stripe, driven home by Kircher's pinched vocal. At various points on the album, his delivery resembles not only the barely restrained teen libido of the Femmes' Gordon Gano, but a classic rock bard of a different order: Dan Bejar, particularly circa Streethawk: A Seduction. There's little theatrical ambiguity here, though. The focus is more on the simple struggle of going out Thursday night because it's better than staying home, then sitting in the corner and waiting for someone to cross the imaginary lines you've drawn. Setting traps....full text
AvclubThe ever-elusive “summer song” looms large in pop music, so much so that entire careers are built around it. Milwaukee’s Jaill may not be the first group that comes to mind when thinking of sun, hot dogs, and babes by the pool, but the band’s knack for shambling surf guitars and tossed-off hooks shouldn’t be discounted come the hazy summer months. Jaill’s second release for Sub Pop, Traps, gets plenty of mileage from those elements, but it shoots them through with just enough worry and weary resignation to land them a notch above the typical empty-calorie summer jams.
Similar to 2010’s winning That’s How We Burn—an album that found Jaill leaving its shaggy slacker-rock image behind—Traps is polished and buffed to a high shine. Opener “Waste A Lot Of Things” gets plenty of mileage from a loopy guitar riff that eventually gives way to sudden bursts of psychedelia that pop up throughout the rest of the album. “House With Haunting” is a moody, morning-after strut that laments a life filled with shitty apartments and shittier house guests, while “Madness” leaves an appropriately blissed-out impression with little more than an acoustic guitar and some errant egg shakers. Meanwhile, the terrific “Horrible Things (Make Pretty Songs)” serves as Traps’ defining statement, a glum, resigned track of loss and regret (“No one to take care of / No one to take care of me.”). It’s the album’s clear highlight, and it practically begs to be used as the requisite bittersweet closing-credits song on any and all basic-cable dramas. All throughout, singer Vinnie Kircher remains an affable and relatable frontman, whether he’s bitching about getting older (“House With Haunting”) or the fine line between “vanilla” and “rocky road” sex lives (“Everyone’s A Bitch.”)...full text
ChicagotunesWhat Jaill did on Traps I did not expect by the band that only two years ago released an album as restless as That’s How We Burn. They slashed the energy (the manic drums, certainly!) and sloooowed down.
Remember all that weed they sang about? Well they smoked it, surely, then waited an hour or so, and then began writing Traps.
There are people out there, I’m sure, who staunchly believe that “Everyone’s Hip” and “How’s the Grave” are the best things on That’s How We Burn. I’d put myself in that camp, anyway. With that said, Traps made for a difficult first listen. It was a squandered effort on my end, really, as I waited and waited for tunes as buoyant as “Everyone’s Hip”/How’s the Grave” (“She’s My Baby,” even) only to learn they’d been omitted.
So I approached New Jaill in a different way because over the past two years or so I’ve come to like these guys. A lot, actually. The next few spins, I focused on what Jaill might be saying on Traps, and promptly realized its despair.
Its first three tracks, you see, however backhanded or no, include candid thoughts on death and dying. You know, the extreme end of the morbidity spectrum. “I’m Home,” the fifth track, has Vincent spitting out things like “I thought going crazy would be much more fun” before the tune completes itself with about a minute of easy jam. Heavy stuff....full text
Jaill Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Would you cheat your lover if you will have the chance to go out with your favorite celebrity?