Grunge, synth, and a step in the right direction. JAWS second album, Simplicity is the Birmingham outfit’s matured upgrade to their 2014 debut Be Slowly. After we’ve been teased for the last few months with a drip feed of singles the finished article doesn’t fail to impress. Opening track ‘Just A Boy’ features the psychedelic guitar riffs familiar to the bands earlier releases such ‘Stay In’, suggesting the band haven’t lost their style, simply bettered it. The step up to JAWS Mk. 2 provides a richer, deeper and yet more controlled sound.
It appears the brummie chaps have thoroughly found their sound now and have successfully stretched it across 11 diverse tracks. As you work through the album you’re greeted by the familiar 2015 single, ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’, a track that in my view would work perfectly as a set opener. The open high-hat and repetitive riff makes for an instant metaphorical head turn and with your ears firmly pinned back, the show continues. The Midlands’ finest have refined their use of synths too throughout the album. This, in turn, has allowed them to neatly juxtapose the chaos of the opening tracks with the more intricate, emotive tracks like ‘17’.
There are retrospective harks to the early JAWS towards the end of the album, with ‘A Brief Escape from Life’ having the hazy, summer beach sound ‘Gold’ is known for. In a genre that finds it hard for bands to stand out, the distorted vocals of front man Connor Schofiled combined with the loose drums of Eddy Geach and constant psychedelic grunge of Alex Hudson allows JAWS to create a truly unique sound. Even instrumental track ‘Interlude’ seem to have some sort of JAWS DNA at its core that makes it recognisable as the bands work.
This album, in my eyes, is definitely well worth taking the time to invest and lose yourself in. With enough diversity to make you dance along to parts of the album whilst reflect through the more emotive pieces, Simplicity is an excellent move in the right direction for JAWS and I can only look forward to what more they have to offer in the future.