Jacksonís Kid Summer Ė Sierra Sunshine
Release Date: November 22nd, 2008
Record Label: Unsigned
Ever had a friend that felt so passionately about something that you really wanted to like what it was they were so passionate about? Jacksonís Kid Summer falls into a parallel category of loving what they do, but I donít find myself liking their music. Honestly, itís disheartening to see good people doing stuff they love when it just turns out to be something that you donít love.
I tried. I honestly did try, which is more than I could say about previous bands that wanted me to listen to their music but turned into seething douchebags. But, this wasn't the case. The band personally mailed their album, Sierra Sunshine, to me, with a note thanking me for the review, with hopes that I would like what they had created. Itís a very vulnerable position to put yourself in, but they did it with a smile on their face. When I got the album, I had never heard of the band, so I looked them up. Thereís not much to be found other than they were formed a few years ago and are from New York. The pictures that I found seemed genuine and warming, like they loved what they did and loved each other.
But, the bottom-line, for me, was that the music wasnít very appealing. First, the band utilizes dual lead vocals, shared by Jack Nolan and Kate Ellen Dean. In a genre where there arenít too many female vocalists, they take a bit of a risk with sharing the lead vocals. For me, the risk doesnít really pay off. The shared vocal duties seem too crowded for the listener and the pitch/tone difference makes the disparity much more noticeable. I must say though, Jack Nolanís vocals are quality. In fact, I would have liked the album more if the band had used only Nolanís vocals. With a sound akin to Jason Lancaster (Go Radio, ex-Mayday Parade), I found his range and control quite pleasant. When isolated, Kate Ellen Dean has a nice tone to her voice, but in all honesty, the added vocals only make the record less accessible.
That isnít to say that the entire album is disappointing. The instruments are quality and enjoyable, but the problem is that the arrangements on some of the songs make them sound the same. One favorite is ďGo South,Ē probably because Nolan is the primary vocalist on the song. Itís quiet and controlled, with less instrumentals and more focus on his vocals. Another favorite is ďSo ObviousĒ due to the guitar piece. When you mix the lyrics in, they were decent, but in other places, they seemed random and scattered. I think that had they used only one vocalist, had a little more direction with their lyrics and changed the arrangements/melodies on certain songs, I would have found the album a much better listen.
In the end, itís a little bittersweet to write this kind of review. With such friendly people, you want to love the music. You want to put it on your iPod and make it part of your continual catalog. Just as youíd want to love a friendís cooking, I really wanted to like this album. But, while I will say that the album didnít appeal to me, Iíd recommend the album, because I do have a feeling that someone will, in fact, love the music that Jacksonís Kid Summer loved to make.