The Jealous Sound • Promise of the West

Reader, historically we’re pretty lukewarm on this whole reunion trend. Like everyone else and their grandmother, we were obviously pretty big fans of the Pixies all through high school. But did we have much of a desire to see an old, sad version of this seminal band shuffling through and likely ruining the fond memories and solid recordings we already have of some of favorite songs of all time? No, not so much. And I was personally one of the biggest My Bloody Valentine fans of all time…like every other My Bloody Valentine fan out there. But the fact that they were charging such kingly sums for their reunion shows smacked of cliché mustache-twirling greed and turned us off on the whole thing.

But then came this new rush of seemingly totally sincerely ‘for the fun of it’ reunions with the string of Cap’n Jazz shows and the mind-blowing Christie Front Drive reunion at the Bell House last year, making us warmup a little to the whole reunion thing. But, all that said, even if the show’s great and the band’s back together for the right reasons and the songs maybe even sound better than they did however many years ago…they’re still old songs being played with a sense of nostalgia and our involvement as a band member or an audience involves living in the past to a certain extent.

Which is why we were we met the announcement that the Jealous Sound—one of favorite post-90s emo pop bands—was reforming and recording new material with measured excitement. Measured because a) they’ve been known to not follow through, as a band, on promises in the past, and b) who knows if an old emo band’s new stuff would even be any good or at all relevant today (see Braid). But when the band’s new aptly named full-length, A Gentle Reminder, came out a couple weeks back, we were pleasantly surprised. They’ve kept the tense, percussive melodies and singer, Blair Shehnan’s strained beloved vocals and seem to have grown the sound just enough to not just be formulaically recreating what worked 12 years ago. See what we mean with this week’s Song, “Promise of the West”—a slow build that crescendoes not into a classic finger-pointing screamfest but into a more mature, complex sound that totally makes sense.

TJS is currently touring to support their new record, with a show Wednesday night at Williamsburg’s Knitting Factory (tickets still available) and—as per our agreement earlier in the year to post about bands playing SXSW in 2012—playing some as of yet unannounced shows throughout the festival in Austin this March. Below’s a video of them playing the album opener, “Beautiful Morning,” live in Richmond, VA a couple nights back, courtesy of Professa Murdah. Totally want to see his birth certificate.