“Combat Zone Girl” shows that JDJ is a big fan of individuals like Mick Jagger. This is not the punk music that was expected from eir previous act, The Destroyed, but rather JDJ’s thought about what rock music should be. This style comes back for “Cream My Dream”, to the degree that JDJ’s vocals are done at the same level, the same loudness, and honestly feel as if JDJ was cutting all of the vocal tracks at the same time.
The production value is not low, but does seem a little open and echoey for the style of music that is being committed to disc. All the songs seem to have a certain level of catchiness and quality to them, but when the JDJ Band get into “Serial Killer”, there is something missing from the track. This is the story of “Cruel Way”; the compositions are just too Spartan for individuals to feel completely at ease during the disc. I understand if JDJ is trying to go for a very sixties and experimental sound, but there needs to be some thought given to reaching a more current audience. What needs to be done is that another producer should come in and vary some of JDJ Band’s compositions on “Cruel Way”. The cohesion enjoyed by the tracks on the disc are impressive, but this scattershot is much too collected for individuals to enjoy “Cruel Way” as much as they did “Combat Zone Girl”.
If the songs were released in a single format, the disc would fair better; it just is hard to navigate through the nearly forty minutes of this disc when each of the songs occupy the same general space. Another thing that may help the JDJ Band is if JDJ went through each of the vocal tracks a few more times before ultimately putting anything to disc. The vocal styles are largely serviceable, but there seems to be a number of times where JDJ’s voice cracks, where a solid vocal style would make the band succeed more. “Tsunami” is the track on “Cruel Way” that is perhaps the nearest thing that JDJ Band have to a hit; the song is one of the shortest on the disc (only a few seconds above three minutes), and employs a Hendrix-like guitar solo to segue into a plodding, infectious chorus. There are a few diamonds in the rough, but these few rocks are not necessarily enough to make purchasing this disc a good decision.
Top Track: Tsunami, Long Winding Road
JDJ Band – Cruel Way / 2006 RPG / 10 Tracks / http://www.jdjband.com / Reviewed 21 July 2006