ALBUM REVIEW: JAWS – The Ceiling
Since their formation in 2012, JAWS have succeeded in making a name for themselves with their instantly recognisable summer sound. So as the sun finally starts to show its face again in the dreary UK, it seems appropriate that the band are ready to bless us with some new music. In their third full length album, The Ceiling, JAWS return to work with producer Gethin Pearson and it is evident that the band have truly matured since their days at the top of Digbeths’ infamous B-Town scene, which saw them associated with the likes of Peace and Swim Deep. The now three-piece seem to be exploring new territory and redefining their sound, which is probably a good idea too.
First track on the album is Do You Remember, a punchy song that starts out familiar with the shimmering guitars that epitomise JAWS’ sound. But as the track continues and the guitars become scuzzier, attention is drawn to singer Connor Schofield’s vocals, which are dramatically different to what we are used to in previous albums Simplicity (2016) and Be Slowly (2014). Stronger and more gravely vocals combined with heavier guitars creates a far more mature sound for the band. The whole track is more rocky than we are used to and this continues in Driving At Night, the first single released by the band. JAWS use a quick tempo to evoke the feeling of driving fast and perhaps speeding through life without taking a breath, a theme common within the album. Things do slow down a bit with End Of The World, perhaps our favourite tune on the album, which takes us on a five minute exploration of sound that see’s JAWS at their best musically and lyrically. This is a song truly made to be experienced live.
Whilst the subtle and grungier direction that JAWS seem to be going with in these three songs makes them easily the standout tracks on the album, it is impossible not to feel slightly underwhelmed by the rest of the tracks, which fail to make quite as big an impact. Whilst of course JAWS are known for their reverb-y dream pop, we cant help but feel a little teased into thinking we will be getting an album full of their new sound, when in fact they are still just dipping their feet in. Whilst tracks Feel and Please Be Kind are great songs that antithesize the summer mood that has always been associated with the band, other tracks are not so memorable. January is a more stripped back song which sees Schofield return with slightly distant and far weaker vocals, whilst Fear is a reluctantly slow and repetitive track that does not amalgamate to much. In fact the second half of the album seems to drag slightly in comparison to the first. Whilst this is unfortunate, we believe that the good songs are still very good (in fact some of the best new stuff we’ve heard in a while) and we are truly excited to hear more from JAWS in the hope that they continue to explore this new direction.
Jaws release The Ceiling on 5th April 2019 and tour the UK at the end of the month playing London on the 25th, Manchester on the 26th and Birmingham on the 27th.
Standout Tracks: Do You Remember, Driving At Night, End Of The World
For Fans Of: Swim Deep, The Night Cafe, High Tyde
Written by: Maisie Kazen