Jade Assembly – Colossal (Maison Rouge Records)
I’ve had some real hiccups when it comes to watching Jade Assembly live. After seeing them play a tiny theatre in Bolton, in an unplugged session, I was intrigued to see how the group sounded amped up and distorted. From going to the wrong venue to getting so ridiculously drunk I don’t remember a single moment (I don’t drink any more because of shit like that) I had still yet to hear Jade Assembly in their full glory, months after first have my interest piqued.That is, until I was given the chance to review their new single…
Colossal works as the musical interpretation of a can of Ronseal, giving the listener exactly what the name entails with its huge sound that bursts out of the speakers from within seconds of the opening riff. What sets aside Jade Assembly from the plethora of indie-rock try hards that litter the music scene of the modern day is that the band are not merely going through the motions of a tired genre but reinventing it, giving it new life and allowing it rise from its own ashes. This is done by dipping the up-tempo back beat in a bucket of dirty distorted guitar sounds and mixing the two together with the pulsating rhythm of Danny Hayes’ bass line.
The greatest thing about Jade Assembly comes in the form of their frontman, John Foster. Taking heavy influence from vocalists like Layne Staley and Eddie Vedder of the early grunge days, Foster’s soaring angst charges the track with the energy of a supernova and creates a gravitational atmosphere that draws everything into its orbit, pulling them deep into the depths of the brooding lyrical content.
The fact that the vocals bleak melancholy are at total odds with the very danceable instrumentation doesn’t make the final sound of the track confusing, but all the more appealing. This musical conflict between instrument and singer doesn’t detract from the subject matter, but makes the turmoil that pours from the lyrics seem all the more genuine. And it is this melodic discord that makes Jade Assembly one of, if not the most, interesting band swimming in an otherwise tepid sea of indie-rock.
All words by Ian Ctitchley, find his Louder Than War archive here.