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January 1, 2001

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Another slab of perfectly crafted emo-pop. This time around compiled from the ashes of Far, Texas Is The Reason and Chamberlain. There are faster, melancholic songs that fit perfectly on fave-o-walkmen-tapes and those very melancholic ones that fit perfectly on cold autumn-afternoons, and some are somewhere in-between, and in every song everything fits perfectly. As was to be expected from Jade Tree. If this is, what gets you going, this one will get you right through the icy winter ahead.
I like these kind of records. Read the Jimmy Eat World-review, if you don’t believe me. Searching through my record collection, I realized, that I own quite a few of them. Maybe that makes me an emo-rocker at heart, after all.

The record starts off with the perfect single-outtake: “Lukewarm” – a song that will be played on alternative-radios all over the planet, believe me. The album was already listed as “album of the month” in one of these German alternative-rock-magazines, that always feature Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach. (But they also do small things on interesting bands from the underground, that is what makes them worth searching through.) So, this album has everything to make it to an alternative “Thriller” – remember: Michael Jackson’s album by the same name is still the best sold record in the history of mankind. Well, I guess, everything above 100.000 worldwide would make a “Thriller”-status in the emo-pop-world. Think about that, one and the same record being played in over 100.000 households all over the world. Frightening, isn’t it?

The perfection in describing emotional highs and lows in musical terms has reached an enormous high standard in the last years. Here we are and a band like New End Original can pull off a somewhat square piano-ballad like “Leper song” and put it right next to a dynamic, groovy taker such as “Titanic”. Or end the record with an eight-minute-epic that starts soft and acoustic and builds up into a frenzied storm of guitar-whirls and pounding drums. These songs go right to the heart, which is also due to the fragile yet steadfast singing-voice of Johnah Matranga. There you have a man, who seems to destroy himself on emotional problems but always comes back firm in the things he demands from a relationship. Check out the slow burner: “#1 defender” where he sings “I’ve always had this thing with bravery / and I never wanted no one to believe me / or even see me / or understand” and he goes on “I thought that maybe there would be this girl / and she’d be just like me / but not like me” and of course he wants to be the super-hero for this girl, the #1 defender. He’d even give his paycheque for that. Sure, these songs are all about relationships and boy-meets-girl-problems but the lyrics are a few notches above the usual and they describe problems and experiences we all have had. Even those living in longgoing and steady relationships (and two years is NOT long, believe me).

But it is unfair to pick out several songs, since that degrades the whole package and especially those songs left out. I know, life is unfair, but there is no reason I have to join in. Don’t make me talk about life in general. But anyway, every song has at least on line or melody that will stick to your brain instantly. They will suck you into their emotional atmosphere and make you sad and happy. This makes a beautiful record.

Another thumb-up goes to the original artwork of Sean Greene, who did all the paintings of quiet street-still-lifes that graze the inlay. These are a short-sightedly blurred vision of a quiet and peaceful (ie. beautiful) life in a small town, which leaves time to tend to the small things in the world. Which fits nicely to the music.

I realize, that I have used the word perfect in this review quite often, maybe too often. But I ain’t going to look for synonyms now, because the right words are the right words, no matter what librarians or grammar-teachers might tell you. And the right records are the records no matter what record-reviewers might tell you.