THE JEALOUS SOUND Making Everything Seem Okay.
The Jealous Sound

Mon June 23


For awhile, The Jealous Sound were trapped in a cliché--the one where the band signs with major label, the major label loses money/distribution deal and shelves band's record, yet won't allow band to retrieve the rights to its own music.

But this is not the part where I preach/rant. This is the part where I tell you the story's triumphant end: after a year and a half of getting jacked by music industry politics, the L.A.-based quartet miraculously escaped their certain fate. The result is their first record in three years, Kill Them With Kindness, on the excellent indie label Better Looking Records. However, after three barren years, the question with any other band would be whether anyone still cares; normally, the answer would be no. But the Jealous Sound have the advantage of being the undisputed best of their genre, writing emotional, catchy pop-rock with a just-right measure of melodic depth, and their new release is rock-solid.

Kill Them With Kindness is one of those breezy, timeless records where every song wants to be cranked in the speakers of your convertible while you drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. Meaning, the music sounds like everything's perfect and indestructible, with its aquamarine wash of guitars, anthemic riffs, and the voice of singer Blair Shehan (whose breathless timbre has characterized the sound of unfettered hope since his days leading emo pimp-daddies Knapsack). But with this music, nothing's ever as it seems--because it generally speaks to suburban white kids, it portrays the façade of happiness that gross suburban disaffect requires. It's the sound of everything being okay, when everything's not okay. Or rather, everything appearing okay, when in actuality, the whole world's about to go shit-mental. The album's opening lyric--"There is hope for us"--is sung with a disbelief, a sorrow, Blair Shehan's deflated last-ditch effort. From then on, The Jealous Sound never ceases in mining the well of dichotomy, singing dejected lyrics with a windy enthusiasm, and hopeful lyrics with the knowledge of the inevitable end, such as, "You can burn like a constellation; don't go before I leave." In The Jealous Sound's music, everyone is star-crossed. Luckily, their career didn't fall victim to its predetermined tragic end.