Record Label: Bomber Music
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“The New International Sound Of Hedonism” is the former Boston-based, currently Amsterdam-based band’s fourth studio album. The Jaya boys decided to take a break from the heavier punk rock influenced sounds of their previous albums in favor of a heavy dose of reggae, ska and dancehall all the while maintaining the familiar Jaya The Cat sound.
Personally, I feel that Jaya The Cat gets infinitely better with every album they release. The two albums that the band has released since relocating to the Netherlands are not only my favorite Jaya albums, but some of my favorite albums period. “The New International Sound Of Hedonism” is amazing on so many levels. There are quite a few memorable songs that require multiple listens. The lyrics are sad and tragic one minute and happy-go-lucky and upbeat the next. The songwriting and musical arrangements just click with me on many levels. A lot of the band’s earlier songs were fun pissed-off songs usually about partying and just being a stupid punk kid. The songs on “The New International…” seem almost philosophical and, while the sound is laid back, the lyrics still seem urgent…dealing with life, death and the regret of past transgressions and the acceptance of life as it is.
Some of the most notable tracks on “The New International…” see the band dabbling heavily in dub and reggae as well as bringing in the welcome addition of horns to the fold. “Late Night Sonic Insurrection” and “Put A Boombox On My Grave” are shining examples of the new multi-layered sound. “Here Come The Drums” and “Date With A Needle” are examples of the expansive horizons that the lyrics encompass. Now Jaya The Cat hasn’t forgotten what it’s like just to have fun with the skankable “Fake Carreras” to keep that point valid.
When it’s all said and done, “The New International Sound Of Hedonism” is a sublime attempt at sonic heaven. Although the days of the hardcore punk influence boiling to the surface seem to be in the rearview mirror, I say that I’m fine with it. The laidback sound of Jaya The Cat on this release doesn’t forget the bands’ roots, but seems to fit the state of mind that Jaya are currently in. The mood is good, the songs are great and the album overall is freaking amazing. Now if only we could get these guys a stateside tour!
Bottom Line: Heavy on reggae and ska of all shapes and sounds, this is by far the best Jaya The Cat album I’ve heard so far.
Notable Tracks: Late Night Sonic Insurrection, Date With A Needle, Fake Carreras, Put A Boombox On My Grave, One Way Ticket Home, Here Come The Drums
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