How do I love this cohesive, kooky, fun, sweet, twisted album? Too much. HJFB works as a perfect statement of everything the Brattleboro group is right now. A circle of Pop-collagists. A literary folk-punk collective. A snide but colorful group of garage dwellers. Yes, yes, and yes. I know it sounds like I am describing 3 bands—like Guided by Voices, Gogol Bordello and the Way Outs (from the Flintstones) or something—but I’m not. This album illustrates a band working capable of working in multiple dimensions. Just for you.
The swatches of fabric are too many to mention. But if you’re a fan of heartfelt pop music, you won’t be sad here. We’re talking about the cusp of mid-70s UK pub-rock bands with their lowly gigs in Leeds swapping their acoustics for electrics and forming their ruckus-making rock machines for the first time. Then distorting the stories that they want to tell into some loud, confusing world where everyone is emotionally 17 and cigarettes are good for us. These songs hit the ghost of Jesse James, they find a lion on the beach, and then drown in cheap champagne (like David Watts). Happy Jawbone Family Band must be a collective because it feels like no one person wants to take responsibility for this beautiful mess.
Snide but colorfully you say? That’s how Luke Csehak sings his drunken sailor melodies through a distorted, shitty microphone. And lovably too, as the choruses of boys and girls by his side sing from the branches to meet this 5AM, no sleep, sunrise. Out on Mexican Summer.
And oh yeah, Happy Jawbone Family Band is playing on Day 1 (that’s tomorrow 10/4) of the NEW ENGLAND UNDEGROUND MUSIC FEST @ the Cambridge Elks Lodge!!!!!!!!!!!
– Jonathan Donaldson