Not a review of Jargon’s new album Ginkgo Biloba
On a previous podcast I sat down and talked with Davis (of Jargon) and Connor (of Surfs Drugs), two Eugene based musicians and bass players. At the time Davis briefly talked about working on their new album. Well it’s out. It’s called Ginkgo Biloba. An interesting title for an interesting album.
On my first listen through, I wasn’t sure what to think. It is good, but it seemed to be something of a departure from the last time I heard them play live. Not in a bad way at all. In fact, quite the opposite. I think while recording, a musician can be really creative. This is where the guys really crush. I had no idea what I was in for. It’s a fun album.
Ginkgo Biloba is a rock album at the core. The record starts out with Davis’ brand of technical bass playing, and some added classic 80s rock riffs. I loved when the vocals kick in with “pass me the paint thinner…”
Paint Thinner, the first track was a great way to start the record. What I interpreted it as a 80s guitar rock song with Dead Milkmen style lyrics and Phish/Humphreys/Widespread jam-band style harmonies. I know that sounds silly, but they just make it work so well.
The second track, Subterfuge is one of my favorites on the record. Great rock guitar and some strong melodies holding the song together.
Each song is very well written and dynamic. Lots of high and low parts on most of the tracks. I would venture to say that the compressor was rarely used. Especially on the track Wishful Drinking. It opens with great single-note jazz style electric guitar. Bluesy vocals lull you into a false sense of security in thinking you were listening to Les or Tal, but then you hear the lyrics and realize, “oh yeah this is Jargon.”
The record continues on with what seems like an experimental track, it’s only about a minute long. It is really cool though.
Now, Oh Jenny is a good song. It could be confused with a Dead Milkmen song at first, then the vocals kick in. This is a track that you want to pay attention to the lyrics. I think the lyrics really hold the song together. Musically the song is excellent, but the vocals and lyrics seem to fit so well.
Then we end with Final Scene. This is a short one too, but it closes out the record nicely.
All in all, this is a really good album. I do feel their style draws a lot of parallels to the Dead Milkmen and the Descendents, but I’m fairly certain these guys have never heard those bands. Yeah, Kinkgo is weird. I happen to LOVE weird!