thedonproject
listening / 10
22 Jacks - Swallow
(2/5: not super good)
Punk 7" vinyl
Better Youth Org. (1996, BYO41)
I don't remember how much I paid for this.

I saw this band in the basement of the Vets' Hall in Santa Cruz in 1996. I heard they were a supergroup of sorts but didn't know anything about the members. We were just there to see the Bouncing Souls, anyways.

Listening to the record years later, it's clear that this is a prime example of mid-90's Bad Religion-influenced nasal punk rock. 22 Jacks is a So-Cal band that could have started the Epitaph sound with all the other So-Cal bands at the time. Full of sing-along anthems and very nice guitar sounds, boom-chk boom-chk and woah oh oh oh's. I bet punks from the 80's hated these bands. They slogged through years of crappy sound and angst to find that Los Angelenos and, worse, San Diegans had polished up their grime and layered it carefully so that a thousand bro's with their shirts off could feel tough while they weren't playing football.

The problem with this too-polished punk sound is that the five part harmony and dueling perfect guitar solos seem to drain all the soul from the music. Maybe there's some point to all of the fanciness, but the only reason I remember even one of these songs is that the chorus is simplistic and repetitive. They play really well, but these songs don't inspire me.

Wait, did I say they play really well? By including the awful demo version of Stockton on side B, they provide a counter-example to that claim. It's a sort of surfy instrumental where one of the guitars is played by someone who knows all the notes but can't seem to always hit them correctly. Too drunk, maybe? As it fades out and the B-side comes to a close, this addition makes an innocuous So-Cal punk record kind of terrible.

Tracks:
A: Swallow
B1: So Now You Know
B2: Stockton (Demo Version)

Last updated: 02/26/2014
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