Homespun: Jailbox

One for Each of Us

Apr 14, 2010 at 4:00 am

Jailbox may rep for Perryville, Missouri, but the quartet stakes a sonic claim to the melodic and sensitive British rock made popular by Coldplay, Doves and Starsailor. While Coldplay took cues from U2 and set its sights on stadium-rock, Jailbox prefers to keep things intimate while it summons an expansive palette. Guitarist and singer Andy Tanz pulls you in close with a sweet but strong tenor voice, backed ably by guitarist Joseph Bassa and brothers Cody and Samuel Schenck in the rhythm section.

The strong, varied One for Each of Us works well thanks to equal parts restraint and inventiveness. Much of the first half of the disc centers on quiet songs that are pensive but never moody, evocative but not overwrought or cerebral. The sweet, if oddly named, "Eyes Like a Farmer Tan" floats like an early Kings of Convenience track. "Taking it Slow Is So Dull" comes off as a breezy beach-bum jam, an unexpected bit of whistling, hand-clapping lightness from a record that prefers its hues the color of early summer storms.

As the album progresses, however, the slow simmer of these songs begins to boil. The six-minute "Plane Crash" comes close to disrupting Jailbox's normally gentle waves; the juxtaposition of crescendoing, distorted guitars and round, warm vibraphone notes shows that chaos and order can coincide, however briefly. The next track, "Santa Monica," pushes the needle a little further with a hypnotically syncopated drumbeat, layers of creamy vocals and echo-laden guitar. These are helpful bits of experimentation and noise on an album that could easily coast on its prettiness.

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