Strange Ways – Some Jerks (Pig City Records)
It’s OK to like pop. Real pop, that is. You won’t hear it on mainstream radio. What they play is a watered-down variant that’s polished and homogenised within a centimetre of its life. So go straight to the source, go online or (gasp) experience it at a gig, cherry-pick what sounds good and forget the rest. That’s where a band like Some Jerks comes in.
Recommending music is such a personal thing that we behind the bar are often criticised for going over-the-top in some of our evangelistic rants. Well, fuck you: No, there won’t be an apology for that, because we (mostly) review the shit that we like. Speaking of evangelism…
Some Jerks is a trio from Brisbane and unlike most of the stuff that gets into mainstream media, they’re just the other side of the full bloom of youth. This is their second full-length record and it’s being put out by Sean Clift and Andrew Stafford, Lords of Wong drummer and author/journalist respectively, on their brand new Pig City imprint. Both are music fans who are deeply immersed in their local scene.
Localised. This is the way of the world. Fragmentation rules. The cream doesn’t often rise to the top because most people don’t know what they like and they only like what they know.
Some Jerks play old-fashioned pop with guitar, bass and drums. The bio says their music is like “Sleater-Kinney covering the Shangri-La’s…Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra pashing in the surf”. You might also say it’s cute, slightly ragged, garage pop. Not zany but catchy.
Of course these are all just words. In the true spirit of music that won’t be touched by the mainstream, you should hear it for yourself. And you can via this Bandcamp track, “Man I Told You So”, a nifty slice of sunshine that borrows from the Easybeats but adds its own spirit.
Vicki plays bass, fluidly and with drive, and sings the songs with a voice that’s too easily and obviously compared to Debbie Harry’s. Hell, that's no secret – they do an ace cover of “Dreaming”. Will (on guitar) and Simon (on drums) keep it simple.
Lots of bands rock. Some Jerks roil and therein lies the difference between them and a myriad of other locals playing on the same field.
But the real ace in the hole is the songwriting. Melodic and slightly surf-y; reminiscent of the early-‘90s but less sludgy and refined via a filter of ‘60s Brill Building pop. There’s that word again but Some Jerks are less a passing sugar rush than an all-day sucker.
All this isn’t to say Some Jerks don’t deserve a wider, mainstream audience. They do and they’re better than 99 percent of the shit that’s dished up. Dive in. It’s on vinyl and CD, as well as via download. Try it. You might like it.
Pig City Records on the Web