May 20, 2014

LP: Jawbreaker Reunion - Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club

Laughing Alone Listening to Jawbreaker Reunion.

The last time I wrote about Jawbreaker Reunion, I was studying for a midterm. Here I am, seven months later, writing about the group's debut album during finals, and many things have changed in the interim for both of us. Bella Mazzetti, Lily Mastrodimos, and Andrea Szegedy-Maszak have been joined by Bassist Thom Delaney, they were interviewed by Noisey, and Sam Cook-Parrott of Radiator Hospital called them "The future of rock 'n' roll." Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club does not immediately sound like the jangly twee of the Tearing Down Posters EP. This is due in part to the production team of Atticus Pomerantz and Dash Flach, who are responsible for the recordings, but a longer release has allowed JBR to explore more serious themes, such as fear and anxiety.

The first notes of the album begin on a quiet note. Mazzetti slowly sings about what could be best described as "The ashy black of my fingertips / Just like clouds on a stormy night" before launching into familiarly quick jangle. The song is followed by "Laughing Alone Eating a Salad," on which Mastrodimos' voice shines as she laments the hidden subtexts of stock photos. Several years ago, The Hairpin posted a chilling photo series of women enjoying salads in some sort of ambiguous wasteland. Mastrodimos wondered, "Why are these women so happy? What's so great about that salad?" She went on to imagine that there was something darker behind them. According to Mastrodimos, "The song is about denial and repression – not facing the problem at hand and finding some sort of distraction. In this case, it's eating a salad." Amen.

As I mentioned before, the production on Lutheran Sisterhood is notably cleaner, particularly on new versions of "Tearing Down Posters" and "My Own." Unlike many songs which lose their intensity when they are mastered, the energy of both songs remains. Which brings me to the rapid "Straightedge Revenge," which has been particularly pertinent to me recently. The song is in no way a straightedge anthem, but instead is brutally honest about a social anxiety I totally identify with: "I hate talking / I hate drinking / What if I just lay in bed? / Play situations in my head / I don't wanna get fucked up tonight." The album ends with crowd-favorite "Jeggings." If you have seen JBR live, you can attest that when Mazzetti screams "FUCK THAT DON'T TOUCH MY ASS," you can't help but feel empowered. If empowerment is the goal, I would say JBR achieves it. Jawbreaker Reunion is able to vocalize many intuitive thoughts through their lovely punk poetry, and Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club is a chance to indulge in ten catchy songs.

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Listen to Jawbreaker Reunion on bandcamp.

Written by Quinn Moreland