If you’re a fan of retro rock n’ roll, the kind that relied on the simple combo of guitars, bass and drums with a sugary coating of layered harmonies over electric riffs, then you may have found your new favorite band with The Jellybricks. Though word to the wise, they’ve been around for twenty years, so you have some catching up to do. On their latest release, out on Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, The Jellybricks touch on all of their influences (’60s British Invasion, ’70s Punk, ’80s College Rock
’90s Alternative) while not losing any earnestness or authenticity.
Opening track “Corner of My Eye” is a good taster for what’s to come; thunderous drums and slightly darker guitar riffs work through lyrics about struggle (“We’re working hard, but it just gets harder”) that leads to a big, layered anthemic chorus. It’s a formula that serves the band well, as most of the tracks on Some Kind of Lucky rely on big, feel-good vibes awash in vocal harmonies and guitar-focus power pop.
Tracks like “Brooklyn” bring an extra, tambourine jangle, with an easy singalong chorus that deserves any Big Star comparisons. “Mrs. Misery” has spikier riffs and a faster tempo, and has more fun with lyrical wordplay (“we’re missing you, our Mrs. Misery”). As every band member contributes to the songwriting, there are divergencies here and there that stand out based on who’s running lead. “Every Hour” relies on a hip hop drum beat, but flows into an Americana/pop rock direction that recalls groups like Sister Hazel. “Run Away”, utilizes synths to give it an eighties bounce, while “Keep Me Guessing” gusts in with dirtier, hard rock riffs.
While at times I found myself wanting for some extra poeticism and depth in the lyricism on the album, the band does know how to use sparer lyrics for a song’s benefit, as best heard on “No Money”. A fun retro gem that recalls Johnny Thunders or Elvis Costello at his punchiest, the way they use “I ain’t got no money” as the hook is ingenious and will easily get stuck in your head.
The album closes on the serene, acoustic title track, which is as close as the group gets to wistful on the album. While there’s regret and sorrow throughout the song (“Been drinking so much I can’t tell you if I know who I am”), it still leaves you with the kind of good feelings the album excels at. While certain songs play too into the formula and get lost (“Faith” breezed by with me barely noticing), it’s hard not to listen to Some Kind of Lucky with a constant smile.
Check it out when it drops on October 4th, and listen to the album’s singles below: