The Jonbenet - The Plot Thickens (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Jonbenet

The Plot Thickens (2005)


The Plot Thickens, the JonBenét's Pluto debut, forgoes new material for a look at the early material of the Houston-based band. It compiles the songs from their split with the Kidnap Soundtrack and their Five Stories Retold EP, and if you're at all familiar with the band, you already know what this means. If not: Lots of enjoyable, overly competent Blood Brothers biting, basically.

In order to highlight the progression here, it's best to first talk about the last 5 tracks on Plot, aptly categorized as 'Chapter I.' These are the Five Stories Retold tracks, and show the band at their most raw but seething with potential. It was originally reviewed back last year here, so there isn't much else to say except that aside from its cliché-induced songwriting in "Stolen Home, Stolen Home," Chapter I's got sass, vigor, energy, intensity, bold tempo changes, and even some smooth handclaps in "Eleventh Century Folklore," all rather amiable traits if not very obviously borderline theft of the Blood Brothers.

It's in the first three songs on the disc however in Chapter II that we find the band starting to slide into a more original niche. These are the split songs that the band recorded only five months after the Stories tracks, and yet the production is better and the JonBenét has immediately taken a few leaps and bounds creatively. The opener, "Eating Lightning Pt I" relies on some weaving bass lines and bouncy guitar chords with some near-growling at points, even though it's also got a part in the early goings where they repetitively chant "this street goes on forever," and it sounds like a displaced moment from "Burn Piano Island Burn" or "USA Nails." Some Southern-flavored guitars are scattered around what's probably the standout track, the rather dynamic "Dramarama," which also has a streaming, more melodic chorus utilized nicely.

While Chapter I of The Plot Thickens is certainly an enjoyable albeit unoriginal section of tunes, Chapter II of The Plot Thickens is vivid proof the JonBenét are well aware of their faults, and are acting quickly to correct them. If progression can occur this quickly, a more-than-solid debut full-length is certainly in the works from the outfit.

Eating Lightning Pt I
Behold, The White Whore