Once a group becomes an "xEx Band"--or a band interviewed by us here at Euphonia Online--they become part of a family. We help each other out any way we can. All the same, when it comes time to review an xEx Band, judgement is just as objective and, if necessary, harsh as is fitting for the album.
         Jet Noise is a band that is just plain good, and there's no denying it in my opinion. They have all the flaws of their youth but twice the talent in their potential. Their first officially released EP,
Angel With A Black Heart, showcases some of their best work to date as they make their attempt at jumping ahead in the scene. Great bands coming from Virginia has been a shock to many, but it's happening, and it's time to accept it.
         The opening track, "Reel to Real" (what a title) is familiar to you if you own a copy of the Euphonia Online Compilation CD. This song is an excellent display for the band's unique guitar sound. Ross and Ryan mix both riffs and vocals throughout the song, producing an energetic, passionate, and almost dark vibe for the song. The song is addictively catchy, but is saturated in a more sinister musical style that is the trademark of the song.
         The next track, "Twilight," is one of the first songs I'd heard by the band. From the first few chords and riffs you know it'll have a slightly different feeling than the previous song. Once the vocals kick in, however, you know that there will be a hugely different feeling. Ross sings in a bittersweet manner that is alarmingly authentic romance. The guitars are doing their own thing at the moment, and their solo appearance amps up the energy a few more levels. There is a certain riff you'll definitely notice that is undoubtedly similar to another riff in a certain Brand New song... which one? I'll give you a hint: Jesse is mad at his (ex-)girlfriend. This riff is something I've been teasing Ross about for quite a while, but it fits extraordinarily well in the song. The tune gets a little softer... then even softer... and then they recoup their energy and shove it into our faces.
         Yet another guitar sound is presented at the start of the third song, "Drinking Alone." This one is a little more... cowboy? Maybe. Ross sings over it quite well, and as he croons in an almost lullaby-fashion, the guitars seem to just float behind him, suspended in the air. This isn't quite a ballad, but it's definitely positive emotions influencing the song. Mike's drumming is missed for the first half of the song, but the tune's gentle, stripped-down atmosphere is perfect to fall asleep to. Then the drums kick in and so does a photon of energy. The mood is still retained, but things definitely get a little peppier. It goes out with a very soft band and leaves you ready for whatever comes next.
         This is hard to say, but "You Love Me"--track four--may be one of my favorites. The entering vocals are incredible, and the guitars and drums charging up to meet it are fantastic. Mike's drumming is stand-out here, as are the basslines, which each get some solo time. The verses of this song sometimes leave you a bit bored and you get distracted by the basslines, which are a lot more interesting, but when the chorus kicks up again--"tonight, tonight we'll start a fire..."--you are thrown back into the circle. The quick energetic disintegration for the breakdown is undone by another incendiary blast of guitar and vocals. The vocal solo could use some clapping, I think, but no real complaints for their decision to repeat the chorus several times, as it's catchy to the point where it's hard to grow tired of it. The song ends with little notice, but with a good deal of passion.
         The final track, "Worst Case Scenario," is overwhelmingly catchy from the first word. It may be the track the band is proudest of, and the way the guitar and Ross's brilliantly formulated hooks blend together show that it deserves it. The bass and drums catch up quickly to meet the pattern. The unique style is almost epitomized in this song, as are Jet Noise's  sonic patterns of going from high to low energy and back again without losing the listener's interest. The slowed breakdown is followed by yet another high-energy sprint that overlays beautifully. The chords following it are catchy and almost unfitting to the rest of the song. They have a slight tendency to go on a little long, but they're all the same makings for a powerful end to the album.
All in all, the record isn't a perfect 10, but it is an incredible representative of what lesser-known bands can accomplish.
         Jump on the Jet Noise bandwagon while there's still time to say you liked them before they got popular. The CD is available on their site, and I'm sure you can talk the band into hooking you up with their songs if you IM them.
R.S. '04
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1) Reel to Real
<< 2) Twilight >>
3) Drinking Alone
4) You Love Me
5) Worst Case Scenario
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