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Posted by: Dave on September 5, 2008 at 11:32 am

JaguarLoveNote: Jaguar Love is a trio consisting of vocalist/pianist Johnny Whitney and guitarist/bassist Cody Votolato (both formerly of screamy hardcore band The Blood Brothers) and keyboardist/bassist/drummer Jay Clark (formerly of atmospheric indie rockers Pretty Girls Make Graves).
Sound: The most prominent instrument is Johnny Whitney’s helium-injected, razor-sharp wail. It’s polarizing for sure, but it’s far more melodic and far less bloodcurdlingly shrieky than it was in his previous band. If you can warm up to his voice – which he actually uses quite skillfully – you’ll start to uncover some bold musical ideas. The band jumps around from amped-up indie rock, to a glammy Sweet-esque sing-along stomp, to At the Drive-In-esque aggression, to an epic rootsy rock ballad, to The Mars Volta-esque wicked, proggy chaos – yep, that’s the first five tracks. Then, they stick with the At the Drive-In-inspired stuff for a few songs until the finale, when they work in some bouncy ‘50s pop flavor.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Bats Over the Pacific Ocean”; “Vagabond Ballroom”; “Jaguar Pirates”; “Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers”
Medium Rotation tracks: “The Man With the Plastic Suns”; “My Organ Sounds Like…”
Recommended: Jaguar Love is definitely not for everyone. The vocals alone will turn off the average listener. But if you give them a shot, you should be impressed with the daring musical risks they attempt and – for the most part – pull off. Occasionally, their music feels a little too similar to At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta – though they do it better than most of the hundreds of other acts inspired by those two bands this decade – but they do an excellent job of distinguishing themselves from their now-defunct groups and establishing a bold sound of their own.
Grade: A- (Top 20 Albums of 2008 Candidate)

Listen to Tracks/Buy Music:
On iTunes
On amazon.com



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