Thu 27th April 2006
I've heard of Jecano seemingly for as long as I've been into this genre of music. Friends from down south raving about a live performance, catching the name on a poster for a 'big' London stoner gig... the name is certainly not a new one for those with an inch of knowledge of stoner rock in the UK. Yet despite this, and the fact that they've released a few well received demos, they've never really emerged from the shadows of the scene.
'Alright Ahead, Ahead Alright' is the band's debut album, due for release sometime this coming summer, and things might be about to change. After having had the pleasure of listening to it several times over, it's safe to say it's a distinct possibility. The sound is of the real-retro stoner rock variety - heavily 70's blues rock based, but with true groove and at times punk spirit. The production is purposefully raw to garner as much of the wholesome feel of the band at every moment. Nebula are oft used as a reference point when I've read about Jecano, and it's about right really - although there's a whole lot more going on. The vocals, for instance, range from 70's or even 80's high-pitched rock frontman style to angrier, punk style assaults.
The songs are often long - extended periods of gorgeously jamming guitars that, just as you feel they are aimlessy going nowhere, break into a cracking chorus or big riff - 'Paul Elliot Smith' being a prime example - minutes pass by of chilled stoner tones in a Brant Bjork solo-stuff vein, before the empassioned chorus kicks into life from out of the blue. There are times when the album doesn't really click - the high-pitched vocals at times grate (their entrance in 'A Lesson Learned' makes me wince even now I know they're coming) but these moments are always well compensated for with the song in question here ending in a great rock riff.
Well, good luck to Jecano - 'Alright Ahead, Ahead Alright' is a great record that should elevate them into a wider consciousness. And as for me, not only have I finally heard a band I've been meaning to catch up with for years, but I'm going seeing them live this Sunday. Lucky me.