Sunday, July 8, 2012

Joe 4

I've heard of Joe 4 through a few sources, none more prominently than through the United Sons of Toil, so it wasn't exactly a surprise when I got contacted to review them. Still, I did find the direct approach refreshingly honest.
So, just to start- yes they're good at what they do.
I think they call it " Monster Rock" . To make it more clear , they play hard rock that's equal parts  angular post hardcore and sludge metal. If that makes you picture something about Unwound meets Knut you're not so far off.
 It's bass heavy, and rhythmic and loud and aggressive. Actually, it's not without precedent- there was a period when bands like Facepuller, and Ft Collins' Tanger specialized in this kind of noise, and it still sounds great. It's pounding, but with art- there are subtle shifts and turns within the beat, which belies the cro-magnon bent that might imply. These aren't thugs, but they might be killers.  It's not so far off from early Shellac, so take that, if you think it's dumb rock. My only quibble would be that I'd like to hear more variation in delivery- maybe some different tempos, maybe some less intense vocals- but that might be defeating the purpose- much like asking a hardcore band to slow down, or a reggae band to play on the 1.
Despite all that, and despite whatever prejudices you or I might hold about their native land ( Croatia) I don't think it's political, and I don't think they're being ugly for its own sake. I think they're reflecting extremes within a metronomic tack. It's all about the subtle gesture inside the bruising hit. As such, that puts them right at home with their influences. I've just heard what they have released so far. If what I hear is correct, and they've got an Album upcoming, I think it may be necessary for fans of that early- to- mid 1990's experimental post hardcore, that AmRep and Touch and Go specialized in. As it stands, I have no problem recommending them to any fans of that type of genre.

1 comment:

  1. Great band. Playing every night with them for three weeks in Europe only intensified my devotion. Yes, the new Albini-recorded full-length is killer.

    United Sons of Toil