Punknews.org
Jawbox - Novelty (Cover Artwork)

Jawbox

Jawbox: NoveltyNovelty (1992)
Dischord Records

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

My friend and I were talking about this particular issue just the other day: The Jawbox reunion wasn't nearly long enough. This band was one of the premier post-hardcore acts in its day, up there with peers like Quicksand and Fugazi. Its discography is flawless, and each album offers a different twi.
Amazon


My friend and I were talking about this particular issue just the other day: The Jawbox reunion wasn't nearly long enough. This band was one of the premier post-hardcore acts in its day, up there with peers like Quicksand and Fugazi. Its discography is flawless, and each album offers a different twist on the same rocking formula. In a way, it's funny that Jawbox's final indie release, Novelty, would attract major label attention, since it's also arguably the band's heaviest record, but hey man, it was the go-go '90s. Times were different.

Novelty, like the rest of Jawbox's output, walks a very fine line between punk aggression and rock precision. Jawbox could never be considered grunge, but I could totally see the band appealing to alternative fans thanks to an ear for melody and craftsmanship. Ironically, it was this same dedication to playing well that has kept Jawbox from reuniting. But at least that ethos paid off here.

"Cutoff" opens the record with a dissonant, snarling guitar hook. Once the whole band kicks in, the song emerges as a chugging, threatening affair. It's probably one of the best songs Jawbox ever wrote, although "Static" and "Send Down," also from this very album, come close. Actually, wait, "Chump" is really good too. Anyway, all of these tracks are super heavy, as is most of the album overall.

The record isn't just a constant assault on the senses, however. Novelty ever so slightly dials down its aggression near the middle. "Spiral Fix" slows the tempo a bit, and even adds in a few quiet sections. "Channel 3" has a slightly ethereal vibe in the vocals. Of course, any notion of mellowing out is relative and quickly dispelled by the massively thunderous "Linkwork" anyway.

In an alternate Earth, Jawbox is one of the most influential alt-rock bands of all time. These guys (and gal) could play like hell, but they never lost sight of punk rock's brevity. Novelty is a crushing record, but it never feels too cacophonous. It's technically accomplished, but never masturbatory. It is, simply, a really good record best played at loud volumes.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapySamiam - TripsJawbreaker - Dear YouThe Promise Ring - Nothing Feels GoodThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastFugazi - In on the Kill TakerThe Flatliners - CavalcadeBanner Pilot - Heart Beats PacificBomb the Music Industry! - VacationMoss Icon - Complete Discography

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Chadreligion (April 27, 2012)

This Record Rules..... Another iconic, ground breaking, essential post-hardcore release. If you don't have this, your missing out. The opening song is just perfect.

DrGunn (April 27, 2012)

a lot of good songs, but i feel like they could never hold the song-writing consistently over an entire album (this goes for all of their albums). but there's also something really addictive about jawbox, i play their albums a lot more than albums by other bands that i would consider to be better.

killtaker (April 27, 2012)

Easily the worst of the Jawbox albums. The production is way too muddy...the vocals are recorded horribly. However, Cutoff and Static are probably two of the best Jawbox songs ever. The live versions of these songs are good and the live version of Static on that odds and ends record is amazing. There are good songs on here that get lost in translation.

Mystereohasmono (April 27, 2012)

Classic.

EchosMyron (April 27, 2012)

Very good album, but most definitely not worth 5 stars.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go