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Happy Jawbone Family Band


Earlier this year the ever-reliable Mexican Summer label introduced us to Brattleboro, Vermont’s Happy Jawbone Family Band with Tastes The Broom, a primer of sorts compiling older material from their already bursting catalogue that found glimpses of twisted genius hiding among the kind of freewheeling, ramshackle fare one would expect from a group that had self-recorded somewhere in the region of 100 songs since forming in 2009. With their new eponymous LP (out October 15) the group have taken a sharp right, enlisting producer Jarvis Taverniere (Woods) to wipe away the DIY tape hiss and open up their sound, giving Happy Jawbone Family Band the feel of a “version 2.0” debut album; without sacrificing the experimental leanings or kookiness in their songwriting, Taverniere and the five-piece have beefed up and spit-polished these weird-pop nuggets into something vaguely resembling “classic” rock. Employing boy/ girl harmonies, violin, horns, harp and electric mandolin to loosely bind together indie, folk, country and pop stylings, tracks like “Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid'” and the singalong “D-R-E-A-M-I-N” imagine Syd Barrett hitting the lonesome cowboy trail or the Archies as covered by Camper Van Beethoven respectively; elsewhere slacker icons Pavement are recalled with sloppy takes on easy listening swing (“Do You Want Me”) and ’60s R&B (“Mr. Clean”), whilst the droning, slightly sinister “I’ll Never Go Skin Deep Again” sounds like The Fall tackling the Velvets’ “Venus In Furs”. It’s a warm, fuzzy album, with even its frailer (“Stay At Home Soldier“) and more melancholy numbers (“I Don’t Wanna Dance Tonight”, the shimmering “That Green Light”) infused with surrealist imagery and benefitting greatly from Francis Carr’s woody croon, and whilst it wears its influences on its sleeve Happy Jawbone Family Band is a record whose quirky, loveable personality shines through at all times; listen to opener “Everybody Knows About Daddy” below.



About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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