Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Jogging - Take Courage

Despite their excellent DIY début 'Minutes' and stunning live shows Jogging have failed to garner the plaudits they deserve, being somewhat overlooked in the Richter Collective stable of bands by Irish critics. Following the demise of the Richter Collective, Jogging moved to Out On A Limb Records with their sophomore album 'Take Courage' in tow. Indeed, much credit must go to their former label for ensuring that many of their acts left with their next batch of songs recorded and ready for release. Proving once and for all that Richter Collective was always about the music and never the Benjamins.

'Take Courage' includes all the elements that made 'Minutes' a potent Molotov cocktail of prog-punk. However, it also displays growth in terms of both songwriting and production. The songs are more focused, direct and compact with every note hitting hard and purposefully. The major flaw of 'Minutes' was the standard of production on the drums, which failed to realise the true power and density of the lines being performed. Thankfully this has been rectified and now drummer Peter Lee's patterns and fills can finally be appreciated outside a live setting.

Deadweight kicks things off with one of Jogging's signature twisty melodic guitar lines, before bursting into a hardcore chorus matched by the bleak and anguished lyrical content. But no surprise there, Jogging's disaffected lyrical content is one of the most intriguing aspects of their music. Stand Still and Horse Sense explode forth like world war two artillery fire, creating dense apocalyptic soundscapes. With Horse Sense in particular displaying how Jogging have matured as sonic arrangers.

Good Gold, is an early standout thanks to its multifaceted arrangement and killer put downs, such as "What you don't know is worth its weight in gold" it builds slowly from intertwining math-rock and hardcore riffs. before bursting into, yet another, memorable melodic guitar hook, seemingly out of nowhere. It's a bold move which pays instant dividends, as all the elements combine perfectly for the outro. Every Bristle A Bayonet is almost a ballad in comparison to the material which proceeds it. But even at their lightest moments Jogging blast most others bands out of the water with their precision angst. Skeletons, Inc. may even sneak on to mainstream rock radio thanks to its almost straightforward arrangement Whilst the melodic stylings of Piecemeal may open the doors further still.

Winter In The Theatre
closes this impressive album with one last cannon blast. Building slowly from an overdriven bass riff it gradually builds over 5 minutes into a hailing crescendo as Ronan Jackson belts "I grow weary". But while the band themselves may be disaffected the listener certainly won't be. 'Take Courage' is one of the finest albums of the year, bristling with energy, grit and determination.

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