by / June 9th, 2009 /

Jabbas – Upside to the Downside

 1/5 Rating

(Stromboli Records)

“It sounds like Galway”.

There can hardly be a more ringing endorsement of Jabbas than my Galway-loving girlfriend’s first comment on this unique band’s playful, comedown sound. From Beatles-influenced guitar-pop to gentle hints of electro and offbeat modern jazz, Jabbas’ debut Upside to the Downside certainly dishes up a sleazy, teenage-summer of a dish. The title’s drugs and cliché double meaning is perfectly borne out in the fivesome’s Beach Boys-esque, cider in a field pace. They flit through a tuneful, upbeat catalogue with such relaxed abandon you’ll want to lay back, order something on ice and watch the clouds float by in a post night out haze.

-I’m a one-shop stop for all your needs, ALL your needs’ Jabbas inform us in opener -Boy Won’t You Listen’, and despite obviously meaning it in the sleazier sense of the words, this is a fairly decent summary of the bands musical philosophy. -Make Amends’ – their most intense moment – is a real stand out, a dirty piece of electro rock that works its way through a series of subtle crescendos; its rhythm seems to pulse gently through the remainder of the album. The irritating, shouty repetition that closes out -Taken for the Whole One’ is a forgivable moment of naivety that you can imagine working well live, but on record provides the albums only unfortunate bum note. The equally repetitive -The Shakedown’ has the opposite effect: a repetition that quickly imprints itself on the skull.

Whichever one of their many, carefully-collaborated kaleidoscope of sounds you prefer, the laid-back Jabbas, funky beats will fit into your life somewhere, somehow. In Upside to the Downside they have a playful, varied debut that lives up perfectly to its title, offering up subtle sunny moments around some darker tinges of young angst. By the closing notes they’ve calmed right down, knocking out a hazy selection of tunes that will have you drifting into a blissful sleep and waking up with a shiny, deep, very-Irish suntan. Hidden track -You got Burned’ is a brisk, lush signal that the psychedelia is over, like Saturday morning turning into Saturday night. It’s time to do it all over again, and you probably won’t mind one bit.

Listen: Spotify | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Youtube