Jawbreaker Reunion – Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club (Review, Stream)
by Steven Spoerl
Once in a rare while there’s a band that springs up suddenly and immediately hits all the right notes, sweet spots, and pleasure points. They’re the kind of bands that are immediate, engaging, and reveal untapped expanses of potential while still managing to come across as fully-formed just out of the gate. Enter: Jawbreaker Reunion. With only two EP’s to their name, this Annandale-on-Hudson, New York quartet just self-released their debut full-length Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club and are set for some serious gate-crashing.
There’s a very unique, very distinct mixture of intelligent humor, depth, and an incredible amount of pop sensibility on display throughout Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club that sets it apart from a lot of its peers. All the songs are catchy as hell, bristling with attitude, and manage to pack a knockout punch in just under 18 minutes. From album opener “Empire” onward, it’s made abundantly clear that the band’s tapped into something special by utilizing a fairly original approach to combining key characteristics of great soul, surf, doo-wop, powerpop, and punk (for that fact alone, if this record doesn’t wind up getting pressed to wax by someone, it’ll be a travesty).
While most of the songs on Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club only run about a minute and a half, a few managed to break the two minute mark- including the incredible highlight “E.M.O.”. Riding a crest of gently propulsive riffs, the band explore territory that’s just a few shades darker than the rest of the record and wind up with not just the best song on the record but one of the best of the year. When the chorus of “I don’t want to wait anymore, you don’t have to wait, accepting that there is no cure” rings out a final time, it feels unflinchingly honest. It’s a rare moment where the band allows their guard to fall down- and instead of cloaking their missives in biting humor, they opt for a brave vulnerability. It’s extraordinary.
They don’t let the moment linger too long, though. In the very next song, there’s the gleeful couplet of “So just go ahead and try it/I’m a fucking pussy riot!” buried in a song that’s built around challenging gender identity. Most of the songs on Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club are either socially or politically pointed and all of those points are exceptional- and exceptionally well made. It’s a record that’s not afraid to back down from a fight, which is a fact that’s never more crystallized than it is on than on profanity-laced closer “Jeggings”. Tapping into a deep well of anger and frustration, their final rallying cry gets directed at body image discrimination and winds up summarizing everything Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club stands for.
After “Jeggings” throws it out its final “Ass” chant, the band’s torn through 10 tracks and wound up with a perfectly paced, masterfully sequenced, and astonishingly great debut (one that’s made even easier to love after finding out it was recorded in a living room and bathroom). Shots get fired, a wide selection of earworms get revealed, an endless amount of smiles are more than earned- and Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club stands tall as one of the very best of 2014. Don’t be surprised if this one winds up on more than a few folks’ year-end lists. It’s already approaching a direct guarantee for one of them.
Listen to Luthan Sisterhood Gun Club below and get inspired.