Grampall Jookabox - Ropechain (Cover Artwork)

Grampall Jookabox

Ropechain (2008)

Joyful Noise / Asthmatic Kitty

Indianapolis was never a great city for music. It was always too sprawled-out to cultivate a centralized scene. While it is no Montreal or Omaha or New York, there have been a few gems to emerge from the Circle City over the years, and Grampall Jookabox is the brightest gem in the scene right now.

Grampall Jookabox, a.k.a. Moose Adamson, has a long history in Indianapolis's music scene, but it seems like everything he did before (Archer Avenue, BIGBIGCar, etc) was merely leading up to the genius of his work as Jookabox. His second album, Ropechain, is a psychedelic romp through emotions and themes as varied as paranormal encounters and false pregnancy scares. It's quite the sonic journey as well.

The album begins with the groovy, droning "Black Girls" that recalls early Modest Mouse. It lives up nicely to the "electro-folk" label that Jookabox has been tagged with. "Ghost" revisits some of the paranormal themes of his first album "Scientific Cricket." The shrill vocals distract the listener from the inquisitive, paranormal lyrics, but make them all the more interesting when they're finally paid proper attention.

Jookabox delves into more chill, folk-ish territory with the smooth "We Know We Might Be Fucked" and the soothing "I Will Save Young Michael." Fans of early Beck or even Built to Spill will be pleased with these more tranquil tracks.

While Jookabox does the druggy, Stereopathetic Soul Manure-era Beck trip-rock extremely well, his best track on the record is the bouncy, party-rap reggae jam "The Girl Ain't Preggers." With fairly silly lyrics, the song exudes a laid back yet exciting dance vibe not really found elsewhere on the album. In the chorus Jookabox croons "Don't it make ya feel good when the girl ain't preggers?", and you can really feel his sense of relief upon finding out that he will NOT be a father.

I, for one, am glad that whatever girl Jookabox was singing about was not, indeed, "preggers," otherwise I don't know if he would have had the time to crank out this unexpected masterpiece as an unprepared father. While the music of Jookabox must be experienced in a live setting for the full effect, Ropechain is a perfect representation of everything Grampall Jookabox has to offer; and trust me, it's a lot.