Fans of experimental rock might find the sound of Jassbusters Two almost too familiar, an album that showcases the strengths and pitfalls of experimental rock. In dissonant chords and echoing voices, Connan Mockasin reflects such a special part of the genre. In its strumming notes, it often toes the line of its predecessor, failing to truly progress beyond these characteristic sounds. Its ideas, even if grandiose in nature, do not exactly land in the way that it intends.
Songs such as “K is for Klassical” have beautiful melodies but fail to produce anything that truly indicates a step above the experimental rock genre this year. Its production seems to be a bit muddled as if there is a bit of confusion as to the sonic tone of the album. Like much of the tracks, it flows quite nicely, even if it neglects to produce anything that pushes the boundary.
There are glimmers of hope for better records, with such songs as “Flipping Poles” having an almost jazz-like melody that makes it quite interesting to listen to. In playing with rhythm, there is a clear talent for creating space for something more. Its lyrics are more crisp and distinct than other places on the record. Its looped instrumentals are fascinating, deliberate and would make for a much more interesting album if the others followed in its footsteps. Its six-minute run time seems to fly by compared to the shorter songs that seem to slug along. There is enough interest here in its layered production.
Unfortunately, “In Tune” maintains a similar vibe to previous songs. While the instrumentals are still quite strong, there does not seem any novelty in its production. It is clear that Connan Mockasin can create good music. However, it simply is not translated into the record itself. Sometimes, it is even hard to determine the words being spoken. The guitar line being incredibly catchy partly makes up for it but does not fully save the record.
This is what makes the distortion on songs such as “Shaved Buckley” quite interesting. With more traditional vocals, the instrumentals sound denser than the rest of the record. While it fits nicely with the first song of the album, there is not much progression or cohesion of the ideas on Jassbusters Two. The production makes it a bit hard for listeners to follow. While there are clear talents showcased, it is quite hard to see them fully develop. There is hope for a more cohesive album, but this seems loosely tied in its ideas and its sound. Hopefully, the next record will showcase just how talented they are.