Too Much Of Jon – [Album]

Friday, 17 August 2012

With the number of (ever-so-slight) stylistic variations on the music scene now masquerading as full-fledged musical sub-genres (never have phrases like, “It's power slop, but with an edge” seemed so appropriate as when one looks over the newest breed of white bread “rock stars”), it's reassuring and gratifying to hear a band working with little more ambition than to just rock the pants off of those who hear them.

With that in mind, say hello to Too Much Of Jon.

On their debut release, The Juice, Too Much Of Jon presents a portrait of themselves: a band which first began playing in the Nineties but are now stepping up confidently and throwing themselves at listeners with the ten best songs they've ever written.

Right from the start, the years of experience are apparent in the confident and lived-in quality which dominates “Get In Get Out.” Here, the band hooks listeners with a great combination of rock bombast and pop accessibility; Dan Lostracco's voice and great big, surly bass sound clashes perfectly with Chris Saylor's guitar, while Jeff Saylor's drums hold the whole thing down tightly as well as sharpening the post-grunge teeth on the song. “Post-grunge,” you ask? How else would you describe a sound which is beautiful and melodic, but also rough and rocky? Regardless of semantics, it's a great start for the record and a solid introduction for the band.

After “Get In Get Out” gets listeners attention and piques some interest, TMOJ keeps the energy up as they stomp their way through two more slabs of thick rock n' roll in “Driftwood” – which could only be characterized as “uniquely Canadian” (imagine Barenaked Ladies' melodicism crossed with The Killjoys' pop rock accessibility) and “Good Steppin” before letting up with the obligatory “bar band cooler” song “Believe In Who You Are” which will let listeners catch their collective breath. It's in that pause where listeners get an idea of how wide the musical spectrum is within Too Much Of Jon; while they are able to rock like beasts when they want to, they are able to shift into lower gears when the mood strikes them and not lose listeners when they do it. That flexibility (and the band members' ability to trade off on vocals as required) proves just how versatile they can be without even trying.

As the record progresses, Too Much Of Jon gets a few more really good licks in with rockers like “Wind Me Up” (which is a little sophomoric, true, but still delivers some great hooks), “Take A Ride” and the title track while also stretching a bit to see what they're capable of with the ska-touched “Turn Around” and the sort of bar balladesque “Katarina.” Those last two songs aren't bad but, comparatively, are about as close to filler as it gets on The Juice.

So how does one qualify The Juice in the final analysis? As trite as it might sound, there's no question that this record does exactly what it's designed to do, which is inspire those who hear it to make it to a show. It would be a good show to see; with these ten songs in the set as well as a couple of originals which didn't make the cut and a couple of well-placed covers, a show would be perfectly satisfying. The essentials are here, now all Too Much Of Jon will need is the exposure which will make sure people can see the band coming.



The Juice is out now. Buy it digitally from iTunes.

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