When the Jaguar Love project first came to fruition, it was initially 2 parts Blood Brothers and 1 part Pretty Girls Make Graves. They released an incredible single with “Highways of Gold.” That was then. Now the band is 2 parts Blood Brothers and no parts PGMG; will this affect the sound of Hologram Jams? The answer is yes, and you’ll be surprised how much.
Take Me to the Sea, the group’s first album was fueled with the energy you would expect from Blood Brothers, but this new band doesn’t even really resemble anything of that, other than that you can always recognize Johnny Whitney’s vocals. That’s about the only thing remaining that you will find on Hologram Jams.
Unfortunately, the missing percussionist Jay Clark really leaves a huge gaping whole in the music. Instead of turning to another drummer, the remaining duo went straight to a drum machine. The Nylon Tour in 09′ featured the group as such, but many hoped that this was just a temporary solution. Without Clark, the beats seem really uninspired, and the guitars of Cody Votalato don’t really add an extra dimension. If you take “Cherry Soda,” it just sounds like programmed beats with auto-tune.
After all the promise of the early recordings of this band, Hologram Jams is an enormous let down. Lyrically, it just seems extremely cheesy. Here’s a sample from “Up All Night” : “We stayed up all night, and saw the sun come up.” This is disheartening, as the lyrics just come across as if they were written by a teenager in the midst of his first experience with partying.
While your nostalgic tendencies want to recall the glory dates of Blood Brothers, this album seems to damage everything that they established. People remarked that this was a New Order meets Black Flag, but instead it comes across like a hardcore Kesha album, only cheesier.
Perhaps the criticism is extremely unfair, and I’m being overly harsh. I thought about that sincerely, especially after I praised this band all during the summer of 08, but I feel like I owe every person who read that stuff an apology. This is possibly one of the least enjoyable listening experiences of my life. I can back this up with four simple comments: 1) These sound like the beats already programmed into any keyboard you buy at Wal-Mart 2) The guitar doesn’t even seem to serve a purpose on this record 3) Lyrics are pre-pubescent 4) I just deleted this from my iTunes.
Sorry guys, but while I love early Jaguar Love moments, Hologram Jams is the least listenable thing I’ve come across in a lifetime.