Friday, November 19, 2021

On ‘Birkenhead’, THE JONES TITLE Prove Their Ability to Write Great Songs and Even Better Lyrics

By their own description, The Jones Title are a ‘new band’ with the ‘same old story’. If this is the case, then their ‘Birkenhead’ EP tells that story very well. 

Across this concise EP, the New York-based four-piece move between varying moods, packing songs with entertaining guitar riffs and vivid lyrics. Still relatively early in their story (the band formed in 2018), the EP is a robust collection of songs that hints at an exciting future.

The opening 35 seconds are made up of a somewhat anxiety-inducing noise that grows louder, higher and more frantic, eventually ending in an explosion of drums and guitar that lead us to the first verse. It’s a bold start that grabs the listener’s attention instantly, and the rest of the EP is equally as assured. The opening track, ‘Birkenhead’, builds on the sense of stress provided by its introduction with ominous lyrics such as, “Women and children first / Stiff upper lip, stand with the ship”. In a world that feels increasingly like it's going mad, apocalyptic lyrics like these are perhaps a little too apt. 

There's also a sense of yearning and love lost, if not quite full-blown heartbreak, woven throughout the four songs. The Jones Title move deftly between the different manifestations of these feelings. ‘She Don’t Know’ recounts a doomed relationship, lead singer Brian Detlefs sounding both dejected (“I hold her / But I don’t have her”) and resigned (“She’ll go back to her life / I’ll go back to mine”) about his love interest. 

The tone of ‘Hear Me Out’ is more defiant and self-destructive, a mood achieved by some fantastically dramatic lyrics such as “I want every note I sang burnt into your memory'' and “I wanna hurl a molotov through the storefront of your soul”. Combined with the needy chorus that asks the listener to “Please pay attention”, we’re left with a song full of welcome melodrama and angst. ‘Birkenhead’ closes with ‘Time’, a lighter song that is the best example of The Jones Title’s range. The song appears more reflective and nostalgic, both in sound and lyrical content, and feels like a fitting end to the EP.

Across the four songs it becomes clear that The Jones Title know what they’re good at and are willing to run with it. Each song allows guitarists Brian Detlefs and Joey Vaughn to really shine, with three quarters of the EP seeing them embark on hugely satisfying solos. When they play to their strengths, the music is certainly made better for it. With 'Birkenhead', The Jones Title have produced an energetic, convincing and very listenable collection of songs. You can find out more about the band and their work on their website.


James Ellis 

Image: ‘Birkenhead’ Official EP Cover (PRESS)



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