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Jane Doe
Equal Vision

My first impressions of this quintet were encouraging: a Swans Greed T-shirt in their press photo, the use of theremin, and raves from almost everyone I mentioned the band to.

"Converge? The beginning of the end. I know how much you like the more intense shit, and how strict you are that itís genuine when you hear it, and not some played-out poseur stuff. They will give you faith."

Thatís a quote from an email I just got from a close confidant whose taste I respect.

Another from my friend the reggae/prog elitist:

"Cathartic? Passionate? This almost made my head throb, and I only heard it through your headphones a few feet away. I thought you were on some really, really badly-tuned radio station, then I heard the whole thing stop and start back up. Iíll stick with BountyKiller ."

He has shitty taste anyway, and thinks the new P. Diddy is "out there", but I really wanted his outlook, so I made him write that criticism on a napkin, knowing how handy it would be right now.

Bands usually sound so artificial when they attempt "the hard stance". Fast stuff, some double bass, "Flight Of The Bumblebee" guitars, blast beats, screams, chaos, angstÖ Give me a fucking break! Not this group.

My initial indication that they meant every single word, every note was when the first track ended, and myself and everyone involved in it seemed legitimately surprised.

You get a very vigorous dosage of Jacob Bannonís naked temper convulsion vocals that go so far beyond your typical poised-and-ready "punk rock" scrunched-face singing from the local garage, that youíll soon feel as though you never even heard Equal Vision label-mates Bane (you probably didnít and shouldnít bother). The guitars by Kurt Ballou and Aaron Dalbek are simultaneously metal, punk, grindcore, PIL post rock, and steeped in Shudder To Think moodiness.

The drums? Ridiculous. Theyíre that good. Pete Sandoval (Terrorizer) by way of Bill Bruford (Yes) by way of Buddy Rich. Apparently Ben Koller is brand new. Please keep this guy! Perhaps his predecessor wasnít up to their punishing live schedule. Koller is able to be dynamic, fast, play with finesse, and render some of the more commonly used thrash-core beats random and unpredictable again. Example: his use of the bell of the ride cymbal as a glancing change up on the blast bit. People are still getting accustomed to the very idea of even hearing human percussion played with such swiftness, and heís adding commas and semicolons!

Thereís also overdriven bass guitar that probably cost Nate Newton a speaker or two, some inventive "backing" vocals and the aforementioned clamor-wand bringing the noise all together. Making it all Coalesce? Sorry, couldnít resist. The sadly departed Coalesce would be proud of this.

Somehow all of Jane Doe becomes a series of zeros and ones.

If you were to take Eye Yamatsukaís (The Boredoms) mewling/crooning style, mix it with some hyperactive shrieks ala The Gaia, a dash of Masonna (especially on Phoenix In Flames), then throw in the sound of two felines having ear-piercing intercourse in your hallway, record it all on four tracks, mix it down to one with the whole thing running as Ďhotí as it will go, and you have some of the messy bits of "Concubine", the opening number by this algebra-core band from Boston.

Iím pleased to say that this got so many spins in my stereo that Iím lucky itís a cd. Very clever, disorienting time swaps, extensive riffage. An actual racket swirling and careening as the band takes turns possessing and being possessed by their own instruments, or perhaps just locked in an album-long mêlée with them.

A recurring battle perhaps. I hope so.

Grade : A+.

- Jason Thornberry

Track Listing:

  1. Concubine
  2. Fault And Fracture
  3. Distance And Meaning
  4. Hell To Pay
  5. Homewrecker
  6. The Broken Vow
  7. Bitter And Then Some
  8. Heaven In Her Arms
  9. Phoenix In Flight
  10. Phoenix In Flames
  11. Thaw
  12. Jane Doe

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