This first release from North East garage rock purveyors Monster Jaw promises to provide loud grungy riffs to appease fans of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Neil Young. the reality we are presented with is more of a damp squib than fireworks. The focal point of this EP, ‘Get a Tattoo’, is doused in reverb and squealing of guitar which sounds promising in an early Queens of the Stone Age style. The build up isn’t paid off with the vocals though, which come across like 60s beach boy gone bad against jangly but uninspiring guitar, and the lyrics just come across as morose and derivative. If this was meant to be to be taking the piss out of the normalisation of counterculture acts like getting a tattoo becoming a fashion statement, it has a good aim, but is a disappointment in terms of musical statement. It’s as bland as one of the flash tattoos in the wall of a tattoo parlour that people might get as a fashion statement, only to remove it a few years later.
‘Summer girl’ has the simple grungy air of bands like the Pixies shot through with Strokes guitar tones, and reminds me a bit of ‘La La Love You’, but is looser. The vocals seem distanced and dreamy, and the guitars strum away as in a daze just preoccupied with the idea of a girl for the summer. The chorus picks it up a bit with slightly more energy, but fails to really fly away. It and other supporting track ‘We Don’t Care About Anything’ are showcasing different sides to Monster Jaw, as ‘We Don’t Care Anything’ sounds a bit like older Feeder in its stripped simple punk rock sound, with nods to garage rock. The problem with presenting three very different tracks is that it may be trying to spread the appeal, and ends up thinning it out.
There is appeal here, but I think I’d like to see more of the latter tracks, and maybe a bit more time spent on the first one to actually get a better lead single. Monsters Jaw have released this themselves on their own label, and I’ve a lot of respect for bands that will put in the effort to get their music out there, but I feel like they should have made sure they were really happy with the tracks before they put them down.
‘Get a Tattoo’ by Monster Jaw is out now on Cobra Kitten Records.
Words by Heather Robertson (@thecuriosity)