Warbly Jets: Warbly Jets Review

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Warbly Jets: <i>Warbly Jets</i> Review

Los Angeles-based band Warbly Jets cite Paisley Underground influences (Rain Parade, Dream Syndicate) and purport to think of themselves as a non-L.A. L.A. band. The quartet’s self-titled debut album, however, provides compelling evidence to the contrary.

At the album’s worst moments—and there are many of these—it is overproduced and slick, playing against the band’s strengths and confirming the worst stereotypes of Los Angeles scene bands. Further, rather than being inspired by the sound of such subgenre rockers, Warbly Jets are just derivative of the mainstream. Self-styled as Beatlesque at times, they also incorporate guest female choral vocals on tracks like “Pt. II,” which just make it sound like the boys in the band are trying really hard be The Rolling Stones. Likewise, the harmonica on “Keep Pushin’” is more than an homage to Petty/Dylan/Lennon, it’s idolatry. And while there’s nothing wrong with the kind of idolization, it’s pretty boring to listen to. Other songs incorporate uninspiring and forced nods to generic 1980s pop-rock with synthesizer frenzies on songs like “Shapeshifter.” The wettest blanket of the album, however, is the last song, “4th Coming Bomb,” which sounds like a bad combination of Jet and The Verve.

That said, Warbly Jets are young and cocksure rockers, and their best songs on this album build on this energy. Drummer Justin Goings and guitarist Samuel Shea have compelling chops when they’re not overshadowed by the band’s self-conscious hero-worshipping. Two songs on Warbly Jets stand out as examples of this, and prove to be the band’s strongest offerings. Indeed, the album hits its stride with “Raw Evolution,” a catchy sing-a-long of a song that’s bisected by a synth-heavy breakdown. Part of the song’s charm is that it takes itself much less seriously than the first five tracks on the album. It’s also one of the most straightforwardly rock songs that the band has, featuring stripped-down drums and guitar. Even the clichéd synth sounds on this track work as an interlude between verses. This momentum continues through the next song, “Fast Change,” which is another driving track that barely leaves time to breathe before it’s over. It’s a raucous and fun romp, lacking the self-awareness and outside influences that drag down the other tracks.

Overall, Warbly Jets are exemplars of capitalist rock, admittedly talented musicians working without concern for original, creative output or any genuine expression of anger or joy or, well, any emotions or thoughts at all, actually. Though it has a couple songs that rise above the expectations set by the other nine, the band is little more than self-consciously Angeleno in style and eager to emulate anyone and everyone from Beatle-boot era Paul and John to more contemporary bands like The Strokes and Jet. This album is simply posed and positioned to fill a marketing niche. Very little more than that.