Nutshell Album Review: JJAMZ – Suicide Pact

JJAMZ is not a band name you would be quick to recognize. That isn’t an exaggeration or anything of the sort; it’s just a statement of fact. Names you may recognize are Maroon 5, Bright Eyes, Phantom Planet, Rilo Kiley, and The Like, all bands that share a member with this newly formed supergroup that came out of a Hollywood karaoke night. Armed with a repertoire of  feel good songs, a mission to ensure everyone knows how to pronounce their name (it’s juhjamz according to their Twitter), and a combination of first names that can be easily be made into a fancy acronym, JJAMZ put out Suicide Pact, their debut album that came out July 10th.

“Get What You Want” is the album opener, a Summery song that sounds like the background music played in hangouts in The OC. It’s a great dancing tune that you could just imagine amps up a crowd. The title track “Suicide Pact” is a mellowed out song that still keeps your head bobbing and your body swaying. With lyrics like “You turned your back on the suicide pact and left me dancing with the dead”, abandonment has never sounded so happy. The single “Heartbeat” is what follows, with lead singer Z Berg belting at her best. This is the type of song that makes you go out and buy the entire CD.

“Square One” is track four on the album, a song easily assumed to be about the trip of starting a new band. Complete with Z Berg stating at the beginning “This isn’t gonna last”, JJAMZ goes through all of the thoughts and emotions go with starting completely over. “Never Enough” is a song that needs to be put on every single driving playlist (or…mix tape?) out there. The beat is unarguably great, and it has the perfect feel for an end of the day, riding off into the sunset kind of moment. Really a perfect song for your end of the Summer road trip. “LAX” is the first track to feature vocals by guitarist Alex Greenwald, and is the cutest love story ever told about two carefree individuals who meet at an airport and run away together. It is then packaged up inside an impossibly upbeat sound that shows off the fact that the band knows exactly what they’ve gotten into – and they are loving it.

“Cleverly Disguised” is what follows, featuring a sound made famous by garage revival bands like The Strokes and shared vocals by Michael Runion and Z Berg. “Poolside” is an acoustic song that once again shows off Z Berg’s precious vocal talents, while also proving that JJAMZ knows how to do more than get a crowd jumping. But even with a slow tempo and quieter arrangement, the band still pushes the same amount of energy through this song as they do on the rest of the album. “You Were My Home” has a beachy, almost Pixies-like feel with a modernized twist. The album is then closed out with “Change My Mind” (also listed as “Can I Change My Mind”), another slowed down track with a jazzy, Norah Jones-type feel.

Suicide Pact is a Summer album. It is as simple as that. The forming of JJAMZ, whether it was a fluke or not, has proven to be a smart choice at this point. Never before have musicians from five different musical affiliations come together and gel like this. If this record has taught me anything, it’s that you can do absolutely no wrong going to karaoke night at a Hollywood club. JJAMZ’s Suicide Pact gets a 93/100, and this is an album you have to get now so these guys know to keep making music.

Also, visit their website to check out tour dates and get a free download of “Heartbeat”.

Suicide Pact Tracklisting:

  1. Get What You Want
  2. Suicide Pact
  3. Heartbeat
  4. Square One
  5. Never Enough
  6. LAX
  7. Cleverly Disguised
  8. Poolside
  9. You Were My Home
  10. Change My Mind
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Posted on August 12, 2012, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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