Jasper The Colossal - Take Your Time (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Jasper The Colossal

Take Your Time (2016)

Gas Daddy Go Records

                Four years ago, Jasper the Colossal released their debut album Liar. It was everything people in their early twenties to mid-twenties could have wanted from a pop-punk album. The songs were fast and catchy and the lyrics were about the self-doubt, uncertainty about love, and using alcohol and various other substances to mask these feelings. In this time, the band have grown up a bit, which is good because their fans and the Ohio city they call home, Dayton, have grown too. This growth, both personal and musical, is documented on their latest release Take Your Time.

Opening with “Slayer Kinney” the band makes it obvious they slowed things down a bit, but doing so has in no way hurt their sound. If anything, it lets the guitar hooks, vocal harmonies, and song structure shine through more than it did before. Throughout the song, they show that their homage to Sleater Kinney isn’t just in the songs title; it is also a musical one. As previously mentioned, this a great direction for the band and the biggest reason for that is it lets the Paige’s powerful voice shine through in a way it hadn’t before. Further evidence this sonic progression was needed, is it allows guitarist Moriah to show off her chops more while drummer Sarah teams with the previously mentioned Paige to create some of the catchiest rhythms this band has ever produced.

The first single off this album, “I’m Awake,” is also the slowest song on the album. The band puts the space created by slowing the tempo down to good use by crafting one of their best songs yet. Starting out with a very simple guitar, bass, and drum intro the song builds as Paige recounts a relationship falling apart as two people grow as people. The first chorus with the great lyric “You go be with anyone you want,” gives way to the loudest part of the song. Lyrically, this brings a really odd dichotomy into the song, because on the surface it comes off as a breakup song. But the sentiments that come with the breakup are those of still loving the person enough to want them to be free but still having some level of resentment for them doing so. Which, while not an original take on love (let’s be honest there more likely aren’t anymore) is one that is wrought with the idea that sometimes it’s better to be alone by yourself, than it is to feel alone with someone else.

“Nothing Matters, Nothing’s Missing” is one of those songs that shows the shift in point of view from the first album to this one. Whereas the first album focused on living the life that so many young people living in and around their local musical scene, this song shows the scars that can come with doing so. This isn’t to say it’s a full on condemnation of nights spent drinking or partying with friends, it is does however present moments where it is acknowledged you might be ready to start changing. But, you have no idea how to begin that process. Living in the same city as the members of the band, it is worth noting I may be associating many of the losses to our community to lyrics in a manner not intended when the song was written.

“AAA” falls into the same realm of cautionary tales of self-reflection we’re more often used to getting from bands like The Hold Steady. Opening with the lyric, “I’ve been trying to quit drinking, because I don’t like myself. It’s funny because that’s how I started drinking in the first place.” No, it’s not a massive character sketch ala Craig Finn; however it is a sentiment and a thought that has likely crossed far too many people’s minds before. It also takes a level of honesty to write that lyric, without dressing it up in metaphor, that many songwriters do not have. The rest of song deals with the downsides of the all night binges so many of us have had, and the difficulty of accepting partial or full sobriety as an alternative.

The biggest difference between Liar and Take Your Time is the band has moved from being a very tuneful pop-punk band to being a well versed rock band with strong influences from the early nineties punk and indie rock scene. With that, the topics of the bands song have gone from being immersed in your early to mid twenties, to putting enough space between that point in your life to reflect on it. Even if, at times, you still find yourself returning to it. This growth is natural and the band benefits from it more than they would trying to recycle the same sound they were creating four years ago. Their lives have changed, it only makes sense the soundtrack would to.