Our final installment of Bandcamp Picks of the Week as Crossfader Magazine!
Jakals— BAT BRAINS
Genre: Alternative Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Speeding,” “The Sound of Something Else,” “It’s All the Same”
In a world where it feels like the accessibility and commercial quality of music is considered above all else, Boston-based Jakals are proof that being emotionally vulnerable really never goes out of style. Their latest EP, BAT BRAINS, bares it all, unabashedly committed to digging from personal experiences of pain and trauma. Singer Katie Solomon’s vocals are full of prowess, displaying a well-trained mix and vibrato that deliver her messages home. “I am porcelain, I’m radiating all the things that I hate about me” are the first words uttered on “Porcelain,” a solid opener to an EP that jumps right into the hard stuff. Belting out one’s insecurities is a brave task, and Solomon shows that there is strength in the weakness. Expression is confrontation, which is the first step towards healing. This is the theme that permeates all six tracks from start to finish. The moments when Jakals stand out the most are when they demonstrate their ability to fluctuate between light and dark, between understatement and complexity. For example, “The Sound of Something Else” takes a turn mid-track and becomes hauntingly pretty and dramatic before evolving into a face-melting guitar solo. “Speeding” is a tender ballad about making peace with past selves and reflecting on the pivotal moments in life that comprise us, directly contrasting with the angst of “Maybe This Time We’ll All Be Dead.” Although the band classifies itself as “indie rock,” their music hints at influences of progressive rock and emo—the male and female vocal dynamic on “Trauma Hoarding” is even slightly reminiscent of the symphonic metal of Nightwish. BAT BRAINS is not to be confused with the easy, breezy, laid-back vein of indie rock: it’s not for casual listening. But it serves a purpose, offering a sonic space for listeners to tackle their inhibitions whilst rocking out. You can check it out on Bandcamp here. [Claire Epting]