|Jaya The Cat - 'The New International Sound Of Hedonism' (Bomber Music)|
|Written by Rich Hobson|
|Friday, 13 July 2012 04:05|
When a band has been around for over 10 years you kind of either come to expect the same musical formula presented to you with a new twist (ala the Motorhead route) or with a totally new edge and sound that will polarise your views of the band (the Ginger Wildheart route) - and it's the latter route that Jaya The Cat have taken with this, their fourth (or is it fifth?) record, 'The New International Sound Of Hedonism'.
Originally from Boston USA, Jaya The Cat have thus far had a steady evolution from the aggressive, ska tinged punk of their first record, 'Basement Sounds' to the more reggae and party oriented third record, 'More Late Night Transmissions With Jaya The Cat' that perhaps mirrored their mood during their move over to their new base in Europe. Each of their records has had a shift and new feel to it, but with 'The New International Sound' the band really have shifted gears into new dimensions to occupy a whole new headspace.
Opening with the spacey 'Rebel Sound', kicking off with a synth-reggae beat that shows off just how innovative and interesting these boys can be, 'Rebel Sound' is less the organic reggae version of band we knew and loved even as late as 2011, and more the world-beating act that anybody with a functioning pair of eardrums knows they can be. And then it's onwards and upwards with 'Late Night Sonic Insurrection', with a jazzy trumpet providing a nice opening, before we then get a more reggae-fused track that provides a perfect refrain for any partiers, students and general layabouts out there - "When everyone is just going to work, we're only going to bed".
The album's leading single this time around is 'Here Come The Drums', and it's not hard to see why; driven by heavy beats and boasting the "more traditional" Jaya The Cat sound pallet of reggae, party vibes and punk sensibility, the track is hard to shake once it's found a way into your head. This will be a perfect introduction to anybody looking for the "typical" Jaya The Cat song. Moving on then from the dance beats of 'Here Come The Drums' to a much more chilled out, acoustic vibes of 'Bos En Lommerweg', conjuring up the aural memories of tracks like 'Nobodies Fault', this is a cool-off from the first triple segment of the album, delivering a slow burning reggae style track which could comfort even the sharpest hangover.
'Unconditional Love' comes off as Wailers via Jaya, and has the same kind of half dance and half chill-out vibe that appeals to both sections of the Jaya audience be it the ones who have come to just relax and watch the band, or those who are there to get good and sweaty. Rolling with another relaxing reggae track in 'Put A Boombox On My Grave', this track smells more of contemporary UK ska infused music, featuring another relaxing and distinct brass backing this is another strong contender for "chill-out track of the year", utilizing guest vocals and a much more rap-like delivery of lyrics that further showcase the band's innovative nature. It's certainly not hard to see why the band are a mainstay of festivals like Rebellion and can gather strong crowds throughout the UK. 'One Way Ticket Home' drops back to acoustic style relaxation, complete with a simple yet catchy this is an attention grabbing track for its easy to pick up lyrics and rhythm that both feel comfortable from the outset. 'Thessaloniki' picks the pace up somewhat - feeling like a punk goes pop track (bizarrely perhaps the only likeness I could drawn here would be Pearl Jam's 'Backspacer' record) delivering simultaneously the Ramones punk bounciness along with hook laden pop goodness to create a distinctive and rich song for the fans.
When I saw that 'Peace And Love' appeared on this album, I must admit to feeling chuffed - that's because it's a track that has existed for a few years on Youtube, but has never made it to a full record, despite it's easy to love nature. 'Peace And Love' is a great track that truly shows off all that's good about Jaya The Cat, with a bouncing beasty bassline, driving dancey drumming, sharp ska spaghetti western guitar lines and rich, rough and beguiling vocals all with a memorable fuck you chorus "And you wonder why I drink?" that can so easily epitomise the Jaya The Cat "sound" as it were. Next up 'Okay' is the burst of party energy that the band does so very well, both live and in the stereo, with a positive energy and chorus that won't fail to pick your spirits up even on the darkest, wettest and shittiest days. Or as Jaya themselves put it "When life gives me lemons, I make Gin and Tonics". 'Two Ships Passing' shows off more of the synth-reggae leanings the band showed with the first couple of tracks, melding in so perfectly with their own organic sound to make something that is a creative and invasive monster that offers big pay offs in quality music and jagged superglue smothered hooks that you can't help but get caught on.
Dropping off into the minimalist 'Date with a Needle', we find a track that takes away almost all of the backing to leave a track that could kick your ass even if the power goes out. On the penultimate track 'This Could All Go So Horribly Wrong' the band continue to drive home with synth, reggae and brass for a big build-up for the finale, 'Thank You' which immediately feels like the perfect swansong for the album, in so much as everything from its lyrics to the chords played are god damn perfect. This is one final tale of drinking senseless, salvation and the power of music, which seems to perfectly embody the band who exude positivity so well.
It has been a fair few years since 'More Late Night Transmissions' flung itself into my stereo and took up squatters rights, and with this latest record the band have not only equalled it but also evolved, improved and quite possibly even bettered their previous effort, something that doesn't come cheaply when I can honestly describe it's predecessor as my favourite ska/reggae infused record of all time.
So, if you're still mourning the loss that the King Blues final record release meant for future ska releases, I strongly urge you go out and get yourself a copy 'The New International Sound Of Hedonism', as trust me you will breathe a collective sigh of relief that bands such as Jaya The Cat still manage to release such great, fresh sounding music.
To pick up your copy of 'The New International Sound Of Hedonism' - CLICK HERE