Album Review - Jaill's "Brain Cream"

By Nancy Dahl

With a bit of luck, Milwaukee-native pop rock group Jaill has created an album that will alas bring them some much-deserved attention. The keen composition in their new album Brain Cream is praiseworthy and displays their evolution along with the perfected vocals that Vincent Kircher uses to melodically woo the listening ears into appreciation and subsequent head nods.

Mind you, this is coming from someone who has never been much of a fan of pop rock. All the songs are catchy, some in a bit of a grating, jangly way like their fellow Milwaukeeans the Violent Femmes and others in a smooth, almost surf rock style.

The first track, “Just a Lovely Day” starts with some punk rock drum clashes and aggressive lyrics where he mentions choking someone? But it still sounds peppy in true pop rock fashion. “Getaway” is a beautiful piece, one of my favorites. The composition melts you with illuminating synths, the drums explode and then continue to set the pace while the guitar happily plucks away, the words “I help my loved ones get away” will be stuck in your head for hours. Jaill’s single “Got an F” merges the two previous styles and embodies the surf meets punk flair of The Pixies. While the title of the song brings to mind juvenile failure, the synth helps graduate the song into a multifaceted success.

In terms of songs surfers might listen to, the songs “Symptoms,” “Picking My Bones” and ”Look At You” bring you right into the swell with the classic Beach Boys guitar chords and looping oohs and aahs. In the lackadaisical “Slides and Slips” the lyrics “Playing games high as shit. Avoiding things that are real for things I can lick,” are followed by what I’ve interpreted as suckers having appeal and his “drips,” leading me to the conclusion that the subject matter is about certain illegal substances; however the lyrics are hard to discern, cleverly camouflaged by Kircher’s distinctive inflection.

Bells chime in for “Change Reaction” producing a pleasant listen and “Little Messages” incorporates some mystical synths that are brought back to earth once again by the rushing drum beat and idiosyncratic vocals. Jaill merges garage rock basics and hints of acoustic Band of Horses minimalism in “Draggin” and “Pointy Fingers” as pungent vocals and the jamming guitar and drums take turns outdoing one another. “Chocolate Poison Time” has an easy-breezy feeling and the lyrics don’t cease to amaze me, “Your raptor voice is rather trill // I eat cereal bowl after bowl // And my friends can suck a dick.” The bonus song “Sweet Tooth Lovers” is fast and bouncy. I picture fans jumping up and down for a “sweet” finish.

You might not expect it at first but the music grows on you.  If you’re looking for some indie rock that will be full of surprises than I would highly suggest you check out Jaill’s new album, Brain Cream, on Burger Records once it releases on June 30th.

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