Protagonist - Jean Jackets In June (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Protagonist

Jean Jackets In June (2016)

smartpunk Records


Protagonist returns with their 4th release overall, and third EP titled Jean Jackets In June. This EP was a split release between Smartpunk Records in the US. The EP overall marks more of a departure from their sound in their 2009 full length The Chronicle and follows more the direction found in their last EP States. You won’t quite find the band aiming for the loud anthemic chants a la Strike Anywhere found in The Chronicle, but you will find them expertly changing speeds throughout the EP and writing enough catchy hooks to keep you engaged throughout.

The EP opens up strong with “Oklahoma,” which begins with a slow buildup, followed by a burst of classic punk speed. The lyrics read as a reflection of various experiences and life on the road, accompanied by a catchy nugget “There is no surrender, there is no retreat,” which help closes out the song. Next up is “Hideaway,” which is more of a mid-tempo offering, capped with the lyric “You were my hideaway,” an allusion to a past relationship and the “ghosts” that come back to haunt. The third song is “Titan,” which is personally my favorite song on this EP. It starts more like classic hardcore punk, blistering fast before slowing up and finishing strong. This is followed up by “Let’s Get It,” which is another mid-tempo song, which also delves into perseverance and moving on from the past. Last, we have the title track Jean Jackets In June, which clocks in at over 4 and a half minutes, and by far is their most tempered offering. The song focuses on revisiting someone from the past, which in turns continues to haunt and provide cold, dark feelings as well as providing some closure from the past.

I will say Jean Jackets In June does feel more like a collection of songs that provide a personal reflection of past events and relationships, rather than the topics of explored back in The Chronicle. Jean Jackets In June provide a more mature perspective, and has the energy of a melodic punk record accompanied with more a subdued and tempered feel. At around 17 minutes, the EP sits at the right amount of time, which also preps you for a possible upcoming LP. While it may not blow you away it’s definitely worth a listen, especially for a band that seems to be maturing gracefully.

Jean Jackets In June was recorded and co-produced by the band and Pete “The Pete” Steinkopf at Little Eden Studios. Jaime Woodford from Room Sound took care of the mixing duties.