Jimmy At The Prom
When encountering a band with a name like Jimmy At The Prom, you’d be forgiven for conjuring up images of sullen, Hot Topic teens churning out angsty emo schlock. Happily, the upstart Milwaukee band has anything but a goth-lite sound. On its self-titled debut album, Jimmy At The Prom stakes a claim in the hard-rock racket, borrowing liberally from the guitar-god acts of the late ’70s and early ’80s but retaining just enough ’90s revivalism to keep things from getting too retro. It’s an intriguing—if sometimes confounding—mix, and a solid slab of deeply unironic rock ’n’ roll.
The band’s name isn’t the only surprise. Opener “Please Come Home” begins with a terse tick-tock rhythm straight from Radiohead’s “Knives Out,” but soon kicks into a full rock assault. Vocalist James Dahmann, Jr.’s impressive pipes are clearly the stars here, calling to mind the hard-wailing vocals of bands like Deep Purple and Rush. That classic ethos is par for the course for the rest of the album: The guitar heroics of “Fate” would feel right at home on Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien, while the driving, herky-jerky “New Sensation” reimagines Devo (not INXS) as a group of Guitar World-worshipping shredders.
If the album isn’t entirely successful—save for the monster ballad-esque “Skin Deep” and the funky “Pain,” many of the other songs on the disc are a bit similar—there’s still something to be said for sticking to a sound and running with it. While most green bands often proudly boast of being “unclassifiable” and “impossible to label, man,” Jimmy At The Prom can certainly make a claim to its own unique sound.