Alright, let’s move away from all those Post Metal folks for a minute. You know, the ones that don’t quite want to be metal anymore. But they haven’t quite decided yet if or if not being a real rock band might be great, too.
So, whilst the latter folks are kinda undecided, you get outfits out there that have rock written all over their flags and banners. And it’s on one of those that RMR will focus a bit better in the near future. Because – like it or not – the masters of ‘zine management neglected true rock way too much lately with all those metallics and whatnot.
So, when we heard the name Jestr for the first time, this sounded way too much like yet another weirdo messaging service for aluminum-hat wackos. And we were about to can the email brutally to the deepest depths of hades before realizing that this is just a strange way to name a band.1) Because the name Jester is already taken a few times over, like. And they’re a real rock band that won’t hide its colors, so there we go.
In many ways, The Dead & Riches is that breath of fresh air, that style of carefree rock that we saw coming out of California some 20 years ago or so. Now them boyz from Jestr hail from Louisiana, but that ain’t making no difference.
And it’s a quite impressive debut album. The band clearly knows their way around the rock multiverse and they won’t go the pigheaded one-way street of just one style. Instead, you’ll get a mix of classic and pop rock, a wee bit of grunge, some hints towards punk that made us perk our ears. All of that somewhere in between a score of other flavors. In other words, you’ll get a mix of Jonas Lindberg without the prog, Jo Below from Finland, and a few echoes of early 2020 Mighty Oaks. Good that Jestr describe themselves as an Alternative Rock band, we would lose ourselves somewhere out in the boonies, else.
After a disappointing blurb called Sonoma, you’ll get the short yet tasty Ghost of You and also By Design with that refreshing energy of the start of the millennium. These were the times when they mixed some watered-down version of grungy punk with fast rock beats and let ‘er rip with youthful energy. Always a cool sound around Malibu Beach and up Sunset Blvd. One that made and still makes yours truly here yearn for more. And you don’t want those bands to be too feisty. Or excessive rocking on the dance floor will interfere with bodily fluids that – in turn – might upset yer stylish West Hollywood outfit and expensive fragrances. You can’t go out dining later being all sweaty, right?
But I digress, so back to the album. You’ll also find some real gems on The Dead & Riches. For instance, Birth of a Charlatan with its slightly grinding and deliciously oldish groove pretty quickly grew into one of our favorites. Especially the slow progression with the shoutout “…show me your power…” towards the end blossomed into a true battle cry over at the RMR office tower.
Jestr grow into some real power with the deliciously gritty The Fix, though. That’s top-notch rock that we don’t quite find that often. And – I guess – that the lighthearted yet slightly evil Hades pretty much encapsulates that knack to present dark subjects in an easygoing manner.
Yet again, whilst 41 minutes or airtime won’t result in an overly lengthy record, some weeding would have worked wonders on The Dead & Riches. Not to put too fine a point on it, but a few fillers found their way onto the tracklist. Careful self-editing would have ensured a better focus and a more powerful delivery. Some debut noob-ism at work here, I guess. And nothing is ever perfect, right?
Ultimately though, Jestr created an enjoyable, varied, and wonderfully refreshing rock piece. The Dead & Riches gorges with juicy energy and pretty impressive savoir-faire for a band that young. That’s some easy-going snazzy rock right there. A record that nonetheless savvily mixes some delicious grime and grit with those ocean shore feel-good vibes. Now, show me that power, we need some moar of that.
Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Facebook (band)
Release Date: 11 February 2022
|1.||True story, by the way. -Ed.|