Upside to the Downside
A quick task to begin. Remember what you think of pop music, then tear it up in your mind. Consider your vision of dance music and rock, then do the same. Throw the pieces into a heap, then paste them roughly back together. That collage of sound and invention gets you somewhere close to the new, unique sound of Jabbas. Even then, you've got a way to go. Like a lightning rod for every musical influence of the past 25 years, Jabbas comes to Crawdaddy on March 25 with a debut album: Upside to the Downside, an energetic, catchy collection of songs fusing electro-pop with a gritty urban sound honed through years of trial, travel and experimentation. Having started out learning his chops as a guitar player in Cork, Jabbas's rare ability as a guitar player led him to music across Europe, ranging from rock to country, bluegrass and reggae to electronica. Finally he settled on following his own path in 2006, beginning work on a self-produced album which would feature Jabbas on every instrument. Recorded in his bedroom, Upside to the Downside is the thrilling result of an eclectic range of influences spanning Beck, Cut Chemist and Animal Collective to New Order, the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and Tinarewen. What emerges from that whirl of voices, colours and sounds is an album blessed with it's own distinctive identity. From the cutting riffs that dominate the songs and an irresistible line in electronic hooks and melodies, Upside to the Downside is bursting with all the pent-up angst and exuberance of an album that forced it's way into existence after two years on the cutting room floor. Supported by a six-piece backing band to reproduce his work, a complex, multi-layered album is given full voice when played live, ranging from the driving rhythm of Boy Won't You Listen and the shimmering fragility of Ephemera to the funk-nifused grooves of ElectroTabletown and Karaoke Soldier, a vision of how the Rolling Stones might sound if cut up, condensed through a phaser and pieced back together on the other side. It is an album blessed with shades of light and darkness, the songs have depth yet they can float like a feather in the air too. As Jabbas sings on Ephemera: 'Welcome to the Sound. Welcome to Tomorrow'. The rest start catching up on March 25.