The Jealous Sound

We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club. Fortunately, we end up liking some of them. In Playlisted, we share our latest recommendations.

Album: A Gentle Reminder by The Jealous Sound (out now on Music Is Subjective)

Press play if you like: Catchy, huge-sounding rock songs with sensitive-guy lyrics; mid-’90s emo (à la Sunny Day Real Estate, Knapsack, Jimmy Eat World, Samiam); palm-muting. 

Some background: The last that most of its fans heard of The Jealous Sound was 2003’s excellent Kill Them With Kindness, which perfectly streamlined the post-hardcore of Blair Shehan’s old band, Knapsack, and blended it with a growing pop sensibility. Then… mostly nothing, just a stop-gap digital EP seemed like a last hurrah. Nine years later after the last full-length, Shehan re-emerges with A Gentle Reminder, recorded at the Foo Fighters’ Studio 606 with the Foos’ Nate Mendel on bass and Foos’ engineer John Lousteau producing. All the crossover with that band makes sense: Mendel played in seminal emo band Sunny Day Real Estate, one of Knapsack’s contemporaries, and Shehan shares a predilection for the huge-sounding guitars favored by both Sunny Day and Foo Fighters. A Gentle Reminder burrows into quieter moments more than its predecessor (and 2000’s eponymous EP)—Shehan’s all about palm-muting this time around—but the songs are never far from hook-laden melodies.

Try this: “Perfect Timing” hits all of The Jealous Sound’s sweet spots, with verses that quietly build into big choruses carried by layers of ultra-melodic guitars. One of the album’s poppiest moments—particularly its first 30 seconds—the song practically begs to be used in a movie trailer or montage. That could sound pejorative, but it’s not meant to be. In 2003, The Jealous Sound seemed poised for bigger things; who knows if it’ll happen for the band a decade later, but even if it doesn’t, it’s nice to finally have another album. 

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