The end of 2013 brought forth Get A Tattoo, the debut EP from UK rockers Monster Jaw and a release which we found to be ‘Drenched in promise and an intriguing raw pleasure’. It was release which frequently lured our ears back into its potential fuelled grasp from thereon in and inspired a broader wave of national appetite for it with a reboot earlier this year through Cobra Kitten Records. Now the band returns with its successor and not only realises some of that brewing potency but has thickened it further, to again captivate, excite, and raise expectations that the Bradford/Leeds based trio will evolve into a pungent rock ‘n’ roll protagonist.
The Losing All My Friends EP bulges with a clutch of songs which manage to snarl whilst they seduce, each combining a mellow smouldering with heavy and hungry intensity. The tracks grip and spark full involvement from imagination and attention yet also they feel like a little bit of a missed opportunity in not going for the jugular creatively and aggressively. Nevertheless the release is a sizeable persuasion and a thoroughly enjoyable encounter which increases the stock and stature of one of Britain’s more fascinating emerging bands.
Formed in the earlier moments of last year by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mik Davis (ex-New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack), bassist Neil Short (ex- Down the Machine), and drummer John Bradford (ex-Utopian Love Revival), Monster Jaw was soon sculpting striking songs bred from the inspiration of their surroundings and life experiences. Narratives of such baiting as love, sex, drugs, and dystopian futures swiftly gripped as the band’s sound and live presence brewed up a buzz , something Get A Tattoo soon fuelled further. Shows and support slots on tours for the likes of Stiff Little Fingers and New Model Army only accelerated their emergence and it is easy to see Losing All My Friends, produced as its predecessor by Wes Maybe (The Libertines, Roger Waters, Robert Plant), giving it all another healthy thrust.
The title track opens things up and takes little time in cupping ears with melodic enticing and rhythmic incitement. Once relaxing into its fiery stroll, with the strangely low key yet highly alluring vocals of Davis spicing up the growing sonic blaze, the track unleashes an infectiousness which is more a slow invasion than a virulent infestation but finds the same irresistible results. The shadowed basslines of Short temper and compliment the scorched temptation of guitar whilst Bradford jabs and probes ears with a reserved but punchy tempting, everything merging for a feisty and compelling mix of garage rock and punk with just a whiff of Jesus and Mary Chain tangy acidity.
The impressing start is followed by the catchy stomp of Low and the punkish psychedelic alluring of Lidocaine. The first of the two songs ebbs and flows in force, melodic caresses building to raw and energetic crescendos which hit the sweet spot. Though that changing of attack is emulated a little in success, the track is a bruising seduction which emerges as another potent slice of nostrils flaring alternative rock persuasion flavoured with a blend of Birdland and My Bloody Valentine essences twisted into something distinctly Monster Jaw. Its successor is a sultry furnace of hazy atmosphere and flaming sounds which again grip most addictively in its explosive eruptions which descend from slower suggestive build-ups. As its predecessor, the song is one where it walks a fine line between calm and aggression and maybe might have found a new gear choosing one over the other. It has to be said though but both, and especially Lidocaine linger and flirt with thoughts and emotions long after their departure so maybe the band has it right after all.
The release is completed by two bonus tracks, first up being a studio version of fan favourite Do It Gay, Do It Straight. It is a ridiculously compelling and anthemic slab of rock ‘n’ roll for feet, voice, and passions, and so easy to see why it ignites audiences. Completed by an extended version of the title track, Losing All My Friends is an increasingly impressing proposition. It gets bigger and better with every listen and though yes it does feel like the band missed a potent trick with it, the EP shows a more imaginative, creatively mature, and adventurous Monster Jaw, and that works for us.
The Losing All My Friends EP is available via Cobra Kitten Records now @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Losing-All-Friends-Monster-Jaw/dp/B00N953ZK0/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1414436807&sr=1-1&keywords=monster+jaw
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