Friday, May 27, 2005
CD Review: The Jan Martens Frustration
The Jan Martens Frustration are from Gothenburg, Sweden joining a fine line of heavy Swedish acts to make waves here like The Soundtrack Of Our Lives and their forerunner Union Carbide Productions, The Hellacopters, and The Nomads. This self-titled CD collects also features all the tracks from the band’s debut H Bomb Club EP. They’ve been labeled garage rockers, but they sound too heavy for that. I’d call it fallout shelter rock instead.
Garage bands also don’t groove like these guys do. It’s that TSOOL groove – riffs written loud and large alongside a prowling and surly bass. The trouble is that The Jan Martens Frustration isn’t as experienced as TSOOL in song writing. Too many songs just fail to ignite, instead they just puff along with the same tempo until ill advised bridge sections stop them cold for thirty seconds before resuming with the groove. It might be somebody’s cup of tea, but not mine. Heavy music needs to not only thud, but to explode at some point. How about changing the flow? Or delivering a blistering guitar solo that takes a tune into the stratosphere? I found myself thinking those thoughts too often during this album.
There were some songs that rose above the others. I liked the synthesizer on “Dead Weight” because it reminded me of “Never Been Any Reason” by Head East. I thought both “Through The Fence” and “Catch As Catch Can” had single possibilities. “Get Along, Get Together” rocks out like vintage Spirit. I wish that the Mark Lanegan style vocal channeled on the chorus of “Convolutions” had been used more often. “Linger On” was a highlight just for the fact that only a band whose first language isn’t English would come up with such a laughable line for a chorus. “Lingering on” doesn’t really posit a sign of strength does it.
The Jan Martens Frustration gets a passing mark for trying, but they need to go listen to TSOOL a little bit more before making their next record. If they want to be more garage, I suggest their countrymen, The Hives. If that doesn’t work out, they can always find a couple of ladies and become Abba. You can find The Jan Martens Frustration CD at the Hidden Agenda wing of Parasol Records and possibly Ikea.
Posted by Wally Bangs