Jaill are a three piece from Wisconsin with a chequered band history and a ‘you had to be there’ name. They frequently deliver slight variations on the same thing, but do so with an aggressive apathy that compliments their punk sensibilities. Traps, their third album, retains the pop tightness of earlier singles like ‘Everyone’s Hip’, but does away with their previously prevailing glibness.
Most of the songs end on a pointed repetition of their titles, a trick which has long been rock shorthand for earnestness, and tracks like ‘I’m Home’ successfully marry this new sincerity to their usual sound. The album is most notable for the way in which it plays around with elements of the classic rock tradition, but isolates them enough within the song that there is no trace of bar stool bravado. It also couples these hints with a vocal whine that would cause any proper MOR fan to spit out his beer nuts in disgust. This results in a record that has no problem with bravely flirting with the Hall and Oates end of the keyboard effects scale, while still allowing for the getting rid of stray toilet paper stuck to your shoe jerk that usually constitutes indie disco dancing.
Despite these measures, Traps does not end up fashioning itself into a properly interesting collection. Its insistence on taking the scenic route through the simplest of key changes means that the songs can become infuriatingly digressive, most notably on opener ‘Waste A Lot’. While it does do something interesting with its notional influences the album still presents its experiments with aural tropes within a similar two point four guitars context, something which means that it can only go so far. There is also the sense that the use of tambourine and hick harmonising etc. may be being presented in the same half-joking way as a Miley Cyrus song someone puts on at session “for the laugh” in between two Warp Records bladder-busters. It’s still way more fun than the last Girls album, however.