It’s a weird night for me. I’m somehow energized while being exhausted at the same time. I could honestly just go to bed right now and probably sleep through the night but it’s not even seven and I feel like that’s just a wee bit too much and I want to get something done tonight. I could probably go out and garden but, again, the fight against my exhaustion is real. On top of the energized exhaustion, my musical palette was giving me next to nothing to go off of. Did I want something upbeat to review tonight? Or something a bit moodier and darker? I thumbed through my stack of albums and my list of releases that need reviews and nothing really stuck to me so I closed my eyes, ran my finger down my list of albums and landed on Jerry Lehane’s self-titled EP. Okay, EP, at least this way I didn’t need a super long attention span… right? Wrong. I turned the EP on and my night took a turn to the better but left me excited to stay up all night and dig deeper into Jerry Lehane.
A garage rock explosion toppled mixed feelings about everything as the album kicked off with “Kiss My Tattoo”. As soon as Jerry’s old school feeling voice took over, a smile crept across my face and I all of a sudden didn’t feel exhausted or on edge. I felt a raging beat in my soul that wasn’t going to go away. This opening track caught me to say the least. The infectious and driving beat had me nodding my head involuntarily. Jerry’s vocals have a grungy vibe to them that I instantly fell head over heels with. Although this whole track felt garage-y and even grungy at times, the recording felt clean and polished. It’s an example of one of those perfectly imperfect sounds that I’ve never understood how some pull off but have always more than appreciated. You can tell that Jerry and the rest of the players on this album care about the music, about the tone, about everything. It’s an art and Jerry Lehane is a brilliant artist.
“Runaway With You” brings a more laid back feeling to the EP. I was instantly transported to a sunny beach somewhere with the wind blowing through my hair. The strumming guitars with the layer of small ditties above the strums have a very 90’s vibe to it. Think a little Soul Asylum but without the yawning (let’s be honest– they are a fine band but can be sleepy at times), Jerry Lehane has an uncanny way of somehow coming off as familiar but also being something completely unique and new.
The mid-tempo rocking continues ith “Feel Like Dying”. This track showcases something a bit bluesier compared to the previous two tracks. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still something purely punk and garage-rock about this track but there’s just something a little bit moodier to this one. I realized that my gut must have known this was the album I needed tonight because it’s a bit all over the place while being true to a sound that only Jerry can produce. “All I Can Do” continues with that moodiness but brings a bit more groove into play. This was my favorite track on the album. From the words to the infliction of said words to the instrumentation to the recording– just perfection. I’m a sucker for 90’s alternative pop and that’s what this track made me think of. It’s carefree but has a punch hidden in it that had me listening to this song a couple of times before moving onto the closing track.
“Fish” closes out this quick 5 song EP perfectly. Just when you thought you had Jerry Lehane pegged, he speeds it up and gives you a closing song that makes you want to dance and move in a way that the previous songs didn’t. Any moodiness or bluesy attributes seem to be replaced by pure punk energy and sound but it’s still clearly a song that is part of this album. Jerry and his bandmates have a distinct style that bridges so many gaps when it comes to genres and this closing song is perfect proof of that.
Okay, so, I’ll admit, I started looking up Jerry Lehane while doing this review since his name was completely unfamiliar to me. Apparently Jerry was part of The Dogmatics. The more I went down a rabbithole, the more I realized that they were a thing. Although I had never heard of them before, the list of acts that they toured with included the Replacements, Dinosaur Jr., The Bangles– the list goes on and on. Any desire to just go to bed is now gone. My night will be spent digging deeper into the music Jerry Lehane and The Dogmatics and I honestly can’t wait for this journey.
My Favorite Track(s): “All I Can Do”
For Fans Of: Vintage Punk; Garage Rock; Energy
Dance-ability: 7.1 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid on the kitchen table; Autumn scratched at the couch (at least it was to the beat of the music!)
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8.2 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7.1 out of 10
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October 10, 2020 at 5:42 am
Thanks for the thoughtful review. I have renewed faith in music critics.