"Highways Of Gold" by Jaguar Love
Calling Johnny Whitney's voice annoying isn't lodging a complaint so much as applying a genre tag. His voice is annoying the way a fuzz guitar is overdriven: That's its point. Getting past it isn't always easy, but it can be rewarding, as Whitney proved with his prior band, Seattle's Blood Brothers, and demonstrates intermittently at the head of Jaguar Love. Joined by Blood Brother Cody Votolato (guitar and bass) and drummer-bassist-keyboardist J Clark (ex-Pretty Girls Make Graves), Whitney wraps his stretchable lungs around brittle, charged songs that evoke the theatricality of mid-'70s rock as much as any of the post-hardcore acts they take obvious cues from: Clark's production is most effective on the lean, snarling "Antoine And Birdskull." The songs are full of frequent gearshifts that sound oddly natural—which isn't that surprising, because what doesn't sound normal compared to Whitney's voice? Take "Vagabond Ballroom," in which he yelps the verses, such that it's impossible to guess he could shift up further until he does.