ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Most bands will push the vocals forward as the main ‘catchy part’ of a song. Not these guys. And that’s saying something for a group that utilises majestic group harmony better than any of their contemporaries. Yes, the vocal hooks are important, but just as integral are the jagged guitar lines, the driving bass lines, and the blessed-out rhythm section. Everything’s a hook on Everything’s A Thread.

This record pushes their weirdo rock further out there than 2010’s Tangalooma, but somehow holds it together in a much tighter way than the previous effort. The scuzzy sounds cuddle up against the blips and choral melodies, and don’t let go until the final track fades out. Why does the dissonance work? What is the thread? It’s pretty obvious – good tunes. These guys are great songwriters. Every part is necessary, every second vital. The songs would sound good as stripped-back pieces, but the layered chaos elevates it. This can be seen nowhere better than the future stoner classic ‘MJ’s On Fire Again’.

The thread is literal as well, weaving its way through the album from atmospheric opener ‘The Needle’, through the title track and lead single, and into the album’s triumphant pop moment, ‘Common Thread’. Not to suggest that this is a concept album by any means, but the vague thematics imply a maturity for JSS. A universal awareness. An existential understanding. Or something. Maybe not. It’s probably just a good party record. But singing the lyrics “It’s irrelevant, what we do” after a few beers might ring too true for some ageing hipsters at the house party.

It’s still a fun album, but it feels less tongue-in-cheek than their last record. There’s no ‘irony’. No self-aware genre riffing. Just good music. What’s the thread? Talent.

4/5 stars

BY CAMERON JAMES

Everything’s A Thread is out now through Dew Process/Universal.

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