Can’t Stay in the Jacuzzi for Too Long
Listeners with a tendency to bob their heads to the music beware-– the Jacuzzi Boys are out to give you a repetitive stress injury. The Floridian garage-rockers’ eponymous third album is a catchy, fast-paced, but ultimately forgettable ride.
Overcompensation is never pretty. Low production values were a hallmark of earlier Jacuzzi Boys albums; sophomore release Glazin’ was noisy, but uncluttered, and had a minimalist charm-– one that the new album buries under a wash of unnecessary noise. Jacuzzi Boys continually flirts with excess, and often crosses the line. Even short songs frequently overstay their welcome, and the bob-along instrumentals that greet listeners on the opening track continue unvaried and largely unbroken throughout the entire album.
Gabriel Alcala’s vocals are the most obvious victim. His lyrics have never stretched far beyond short rhyming couplets, and require a healthy dose of whining clarity to really flow. Jacuzzi Boys submerges Alcala; his words are often unintelligible, and his voice indistinct. Combine this with a penchant for ceaseless end-rhymes, and you wind up with an ambient vocalist. Alcala’s voice simply blends into the wash of noise, occasionally surfacing for an unexpected stutter or two, and then fading right back in.
The album’s best moments come in the rare patches of clarity. Listeners hypnotized by the Jacuzzi Boys’ unvaryingly stompy instrumentals should welcome surprises like a brief measure of drums in “Hotline,” or the triumphal guitar build in “Over the Zoom.” Why? Because they’re the rare patches in the album where all the noise, noise, noise stops for just a second leaving just… the band.
More sustained bright spots include album standout “Guillotine.” Alcala finally manages to inject some much-needed intensity into this restrained rocker and a few start-stop moments give welcome texture. But it’s “Heavy Horse” that really sums up everything both promising and irritating about Jacuzzi Boys. Repetitive, plodding vocal sections weigh the song down, but interspersed are some almost shockingly sharp guitar solos. It’s not quite enough to save Jacuzzi Boys from being elevator rock, but it’s enough to perk up a nodding listener-– and sometimes that’s about all you can ask for.