The Jai-Alai Savant’s “Thunderstatement” gives listeners the same general feeling as if they happened on a seventies rock band’s album that has been lost for the last thirty or so years. During tracks like “Scarlett Johansson, Why Don’t You Love Me”, the band’s music really comes forth as if it was born directly from the arena rock era. The band moves up a few years to the Police-sounding title-track. Where they do tend to derivate from The Police comes in the raw fury that the band puts forth. While The Police really were trend-setters, The Jai-Alai Savant really have the benefit of coming a few decades after the band, and can mix acts like Sublime and Queens of the Stone Age in to the Police formula to make something even more impressive.
Moving into the ska section of The Police (think Roxanne instead of Synchronicity), the tropical rhythms of “Diary of the Mass Trappist” really turn the idea of the jam band on this ear. This is what jam should be, even though it so little resembles that art form; on it’s runtime there are so many different things happening, whether it be the multiple harmonies or chipper bass lines. Repetition is used to further inculcate the track into listener’s minds, something that the Jai-Alai Savant really tend to succeed in. There is so much radio-friendly fodder present on this EP, which all the more impressive considering that the technicality and virtuosity shown on this album is without equal. “Murder ‘Pon The Dancehall” (owing to its short runtime) passes by fairly quickly, while the disc’s final track “Sugar Free” even tops preceding tracks in terms of raw catchiness.
There seems to be a little less going on during this track than what was present on “Diary of the Mass Trappist”, but the instruments that are found on the disc are used more efficiently. The Jai-Alai Savant come forth with a sound that recalls various genres but does not find itself in a rut in any of these styles; The Jai-Alai Savant simultaneously reside in the spirit of the seventies, eighties and nineties. “Thunderstatement” (even with its cringe-inducingly cheesy title) is a wonderful introduction to this new all-star band (featuring members from An Albatross and Franklin) and should tide listeners over under the band can cull together enough tracks for their first full-length.
Top Track: Sugar Free
The Jai-Alai Savant – Thunderstatement / 2005 Gold Standard Laboratories / 5 Tracks / http://savant.paintthesky.org / http://www.goldstandardlabs.com / Reviewed 05 November 2005