Jericco - Jericco
Record Label: Third Eye Records
Release Date: June 5, 2009
The Australian alternative rock scene is flooded with talent. So much so that it becomes hard for a band to show enough originality to stand out. Melbourne-based Jericco’s middle-eastern influenced, high-energy brand of rock has no problem finding individuality, with their debut self-titled EP being solid evidence.
With the four minute instrumental track that boldly opens the EP, an excitement and promise inevitably creeps in. The members progressively introduce themselves to the fray, opening with Fetah Sabawi creating ambience with keys, Jordan Nagle’s distorted guitar riffs, Roy Amar’s intense, catchy bass lines, and finally Luke Halstead’s commanding drum beats. Once the four are together, they move into a melodic, chugging, bouncy rhythm, bringing life to the song without words. The four prove they are by no means lacking ability, as the opener "Jericco" sets out to define the band’s sound without words.
"Always" introduces the listener to Brent McCormick, Jericco’s unique and charismatic vocalist. From hums and chants to his strong, melodic vocals, McCormick takes the already instrumentally impressive band to a new level. The passion in his voice is undeniable, conveying sincerity unrivalled by many bands in the scene. As the song builds into the chorus, Sabawi’s backing vocals play around McCormick’s voice, adding to the chaotic rhythms and ambience soon to be associated with Jericco.
After an introduction to all members of the band, the EP moves onto "Sun," a brilliant display of everything Jericco are capable of. Opening with a middle-eastern feel in Halstead’s drumming along with samples from Sabawi, the song breaks into McCormick’s powerful, asserting vocals. This is where he’s at his best, singing emotional, passionate lyrics with convincing sincerity. Sabawi’s keys play a crucial part during the softer passages, followed by an onslaught of bass lines from Amar, all the while with Halstead driving the song forward. After some emotionally charged lyrics, "Sun" builds with intensity, a wall of sound, and then drops to half speed as McCormick and Sabawi intertwine vocals once more, a moving end to the standout track.
Gunfire tears through the sound of a beating heart, opening the intense "Rujm." Here we see a more aggressive Jericco, with Nagle’s guitars following the gunfire in short bursts, McCormick’s voice joining it. Nagle’s guitars and Amar’s eloquent, thundering bass bring darkness to the track, as it delves into a deeper side of the Jericco’s lyrics. Displaying diversity in their songwriting, "Rujm" shows Jericco to be more than just a rock band using and re-using the same formula.
After Sabawi opens with a stunning introduction to "Home" on keys, a wall of sound ensues, with the middle-eastern feel coming to the forefront again, particularly through Halstead’s drumming. Vocals in this track aren’t mixed as prominently as in the other songs, and McCormick’s voice tends to fade in with the instrumentation. This, however, suits the song particularly well through the quiet passages, with a focus on samples and some more intricate guitar work. The tempo slowly creeps up to explode for one final time, with McCormick’s voice coming once more to the foreground to finish the track.
"Dahab" closes out the EP, with Roy Amar playing the Oud over a rhythmic, Middle Eastern drum beat. If it weren’t evident enough through the heavier rock songs, the Middle Eastern influence is unmistakable here, and plays out as a fitting closer for the EP.
Jericco display individuality, technical expertise and passion for music through their debut EP. With their enthusiasm and sincerity, they have made a place for themselves amongst many well-respected Australian alternative rock bands. As the band’s sound progresses, expect to hear something ground-breaking.