OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dischord Records junkies do
LINEUP: J. Robbins, Kim Colletta, Bill Barbot, Adam Wade.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Adding a guitarist opens up their sound, and they quickly become one of the better Dischord acts.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first Jawbox releases seemed a bit claustrophobic and same-same, but when the band added Bill Barbot on guitar and backing vocals, their sound opened up, and gained textures and vibrance that they didn’t have originally.
J. Robbins’ voice still carries through the album, but there’s more diversity in sound and style, and in “Static”, one of the better uses of the quiet-loud trope. Adding Barbot made the riffs more menacing at times (in “Cutoff”, especially).
There’s still an issue with sequencing, as “Static” was placed in the back half of the album behind some songs which blur together. Still, an improvement for sure.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Bill Barbot is a Facebook friend of mine (a good friend of my best friend and I’ve had conversations with him at conferences and what not), but that hasn’t affected this review.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B+: They moved to near the top of the Dischord roster – and would be prime for moving up to a major label (which they did).
ARTIST: Jawbox TITLE: Grippe YEAR RELEASED: 1991 CHART ACTION: None SINGLES: None OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dischord Record junkies, yes. Otherwise… LINEUP: J. Robbins, Kim Coletta, Adam Wade. WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: J. Robbins forms band after Government Issue goes bust, records EP and album for Dischord.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A note, I’ve had conversations at conferences, etc. with the second guitarist for Jawbox (though he’s not on this record), so I’ll try to be as fair as I can with every Jawbox review.
Grippe is the sound of a band trying to figure it out. The issue for me is variability. Most of the songs are very similar, and I think it’s an underlying problem with J. Robbins’ voice. While he’s an excellent guitarist, his vocal stylings and range is kind of limited. Also with just one guitarist the riffs all seem to be coming from the same place.
It’s decent, especially if you like Dischord, but Jawbox would get better.
The CD contains their 1990 EP, of which two songs were re-recorded for Grippe. I’m not reviewing that separately since basically it’s been intertwined with Grippe since it was on CD. I like the EP better – it seemed to have more energy and verve.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They did release a demo cassette and a single before signing to Dischord – and that was the genesis of Desoto Records which released the Dismemberment Plan records.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The EP added to the vinyl LP I guess is deluxe.
GRADE: B-: There are high points, don’t get me wrong. But in the middle Grippe gets kind of monotonous and doesn’t break out until the EP starts.