It has been 12 years since The Jazz June has released an album, and in those twelve years their influence on the underground indie and emo scene has not been given enough credit. The band formed in 1996, a few years ahead of the early 2000’s wave of emo bands, and broke up in 2004 after a tour that nearly financially crippled the band. They never gained much recognition and fame as the 2004 emo scene seemed to be focused on the angst-ridden whining of bands like My Chemical Romance and bands that appealed to hormonal teenagers. However, with the demise of My Chemical Romance, fans have begun clamoring for more emo bands to fill that void and they have turned to The Jazz June’s contemporaries like American Football, Braid, Mineral and the many other emo-ish bands that have emerged onto the scene like Real Friends. It is only fitting that The Jazz June make a triumphant comeback with their new album After The Earthquake.
If The Jazz June were a group of 20 year olds and were releasing this as their debut album, they would be hailed as a “buzz band” and be crowned with various superfluous labels like “band of the week” or other meaningless titles. The Jazz June is a group of adults in their 30’s and such titles are not given to them. They deliver catchy and whimsically indie rock tinged with mutterings of emo influences as the band musically deals with their personal strife.
From the first listen of After the Earthquake, you would not know that the band had not performed or recorded together for 12 years. Nor would you know that their last album was released in 2002. They sound just as good, if not better than their modern contemporaries. Their sound is tight and puts some of the current emo bands to shame. These bands have had over two decades of emo bands to draw from and all they can muster is melancholic whining about how much their life sucks while being signed to labels like Sumerian Records and Rise Records and receiving constant praise from some of the biggest alternative music publications. The Jazz June strolls back into the scene and delivers a nostalgic and flawless sound that conveys their personal strife in ways which are not blatantly self-pitying.
After the Earthquake grabs your attention from the very beginning and demands that you put it on repeat. It is one of those albums that you love from the first guitar riff and it just continues to grow on you, even if you listen to it for ten straight hours without taking a break from it. Once you immerse yourself in the album, it becomes very difficult to break loose from its warm embrace. It is a unique album as it takes you back to the days of the early second wave emo bands like The Get Up Kids. These were the bands that were ahead of their time and eventually faded into the background only for the mid-2000’s wave of emo bands to resurrect the sound and gain an enormous amount of success. On After the Earthquake you can hear just how The Jazz June had an enormous influence on the emo-ish indie rock scene as a whole. You can even hear how they influenced some of the new pop punk bands like Neck Deep, with their drawling vocals and crisp yet aggressive guitar riffs.
Without a doubt, After the Earthquake is a triumphant comeback for The Jazz June as they have delivered an album that is probably my favorite in its respective genre. It has blown Real Friends’ new album, which was my favorite, out of the water with its sincere and whimsical sound. After the Earthquake is honest and down-to-earth and is an album that you need to have in your life.