Jones Street Station — In Verses Out 8/18, Smith Street Records.
Jones Street Station’s In Verses was one of my most anticipated releases of this year (that nobody else cared about). Their 2007 debut Overcome (as the Jones Street Boys) was a note-perfect Dixieland-infused Americana album, full of tight harmonies, great songwriting and an excellent ear for a cover (the Band’s “Twilight” and John Hartford’s “Tall Buildings” are stand-out tracks on an album full of stand-out tracks). There wasn’t a false note on the album, and I’m never disappointed when I listen to it.
Which is why I’ve held off so long on writing about In Verses, because I hoped that it would grow on me. That I’d find the key to loving it and finding it as memorable as I found Overcome, even if it wasn’t sudden immediate onset memorableness. And the fact is, I just haven’t found that key. It isn’t a bad album; the things that appealed to me on their debut are still present, the close harmonies of five boys from flyover states now living in Brooklyn, and the occasional moment of unexpected instrumentation or melody. There are a few phenomenal tracks — first single “Front Door” leads the pack, as good or better than anything on their debut — but I mostly found the album a little flat, and a little boring. Overcome is joyous and free where the new album feels more constrained and less inspired, and, frankly, it feels a little long — there are some tracks that simply drag out in uninteresting ways. It isn’t a bad album; it’s just not stop-in-your-tracks good. I’m not going to stop listening to the music or following the career of Jones Street Station, because I know they’re capable of making soaring, memorable albums and I have faith that they’ll manage it again. In Verses was just a tiny bit of disappointment.
[Jones Street Station — “Front Door”] 5MB, .mp3.
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