JAWS – The Ceiling
Indie Rock | Dream Pop | Alternative Rock
The ever underrated Birmingham trio have matured their sound in a really interesting way on this latest release. To put it into movie terms; their last record Simplicity was The Breakfast Club, while this latest offering is more like St Elmo’s Fire. The former has an air of youthful optimism, a sense that you can face the world and come out on top, while the latter is more concerned with feeling lost and struggling to understand your place in the world. This is reflected not only in the lyrics, which take a noticeably darker turn, but also in the music which dials back on the expansive soundscapes and relies more on grit than grandeur.
This manifests itself in two ways. Firstly in bittersweet indie pop tracks such as ‘Feel’ and ‘Fear’, which play like a soundtrack of a night beneath city lights which once captured your imagination, but now no longer hold the same allure. Meanwhile tracks like ‘Do You Remember’ with its potent rhythm section, and ‘End of the World’ with its expressive bass line and suitably doom laden riffs, have real bite to them and serve to showcase the band’s heavier side. You still see hints of the vibrant majestic animal that their music used to be, but it has found its way into captivity, backed into a corner, and the wild side is beginning to show. These tracks form the backbone of the record and prove to be far more compelling than the more pop orientated fare.
The more stripped back approach (by JAWS standards anyway) paired with the darker tone make this record much less immediate than their previous releases. Some may click with the album immediately, but I feel like for most it will take a fair few listens to get on board with it. The title track however definitely stands out as a highlight, one that preaches strength and optimism with such lines as “we’re floating above it all, our problems are all below” and “just keep going, there’s no ceiling”. Perhaps one of their best tracks to date, ‘The Ceiling’ feels like a happy ending to an otherwise melancholy, slow-burning record. As far as the rest of the album goes; it’s a challenging release, but still with plenty of merit. The kind of record that you come back to years down the line and fall for once it’s had chance to grow on you.