Upon embarking on my first listen, I found myself racked with worry and taxed with questions. I mean: Who is jo, did they pass out, are they okay? As it turns out, jo passed is simply the new project from Vancouver’s musical man of many hats, Joseph Hirabayashi. You may know him as an ex-member of ex-band Sprïng, which served up neo-psychadelicacies and was born from SSRIs, purveyors of experimental punk. Now, the multi-instrumentalist has almost single-handedly written, performed, and recorded out, the latest refreshingly sludgy EP in the game. After extensive research on the origins and history of jo, it’s also clear that the sick mix of badinage and audible technical prowess we see on out is nothing we wouldn’t expect.
This January-fresh, five-track EP released on Craft Singles is a frizzy, homemade labor of love (or detachment and a subtle slow burn) from him to us evokes a California garage sound, a punkadelic past, and music theory class swag. It’s the latest, most complete offering since last fall when jo passed dangled a two-song split, featuring “Star Song” and “Monkey Mind” next to our ears. Almost without a moment truly free of fuzz, distortion, reverb, or any other unclassified lingering noise, out features three dynamic, mathy jams sandwiching the other two, (like standout track “No Joy [I’m Not Real, Girl]”, and it reminds me of lasagna, kind of. At the very center layer of this casserole, you’ll find “Lego my Ego,” a head-bobbing single with the best, most quippy title you’ll see for a while. Mere seconds in, the steady beat and seemingly sea-sick guitar over swirling vocals induce movement and the urge to… jump on a bike or something, to just go.
If you like music made in cool peoples’ houses, if you like getting creative with time signatures but you still just wanna dance, if you like Canadians, if you like the very psych-reminiscent direction a lot of great tunes are going right now, then jo passed and out is really worth a listen. Honestly, listen to jo passed’s predecessors as well; from where I stand, Joseph Hirabiyashi has been bringing some really cool stuff to everything he touches, and jo passed is shaping up to be no different. Oh, and by the way, the sensation is making its way around to Cambridge at Zuzu on April 18th with Crispy Lips and Edith, and this is a gig I’d get to even if I was chained to a rock on the bottom of the Charles River, but that’s just my two cents. So.
Cop out on bandcamp, or perhaps cassette, here.