Perhaps I was too hasty in assembling my top albums list for 2011 this past New Years day. It never ceases to amaze me that I find some of my favorite albums of any given year, the January of February after, and I'm more than happy to have Quebec's Jet Black fill that belated void this time. The amped-out swath cut out by this co-ed quartet isn't wholly innovative, but is startlingly visceral at times.
Austere, but not brooding, and slyly angular without alienating, Jet Black's debut Escape Measures packs some serious musculature. Muscle I might add, that's carefully allocated to mesh with the bittersweet melodicism of the scintillating opener "6 AM" and a little further in "Daydreamer" and "Archives." Coincidentally or not, much of this album exudes the finer aptitudes and facets of so many of my personal favorite '90s underdogs including Sprinkler, Skiploader, Monsterland and Failure. In fact, I never thought I'd see the day where I could use even one of the aforementioned as a comparison, let alone all four in one fell swoop, but this is the kind of indulgence Escape Measures delivers, yet Jet Black's aesthetic strikes me as far too advanced to be deemed as a mere throwback.
Between all the gritty and gauzy guitar grandeur, the record offers some quieter respites in the form of "Engine Up" and "Elevator," but in toto, Escape... is a sparks-flying corker, blistering and beautiful. Many happy returns. You can sample "Daydreamer" and "Control" via the link below. A limited vinyl edition run is available through Jet Black's website, but if you're looking for more instant gratification, iTunes, Emusic and Amazon have you covered.