Album Review :
Jump Ship Quick - Where Thieves Cannot Tread
- Through The Ears
- Mask On Greed
- He Must Increase
- Here Come The Clowns
- Not My Fault
- As We Overcome
- Killing For Convenience
- In The Guise
- Where Thieves Cannot Tread
- Clueless But Not Hopeless
- If Only….
- I Defy Your Violence
- Cattle Prod
- My One True Hope
- Sun Sets
Before describing Jump Ship Quick, a relatively new band that’s been gaining a bit of notoriety on several Christian music sites, it may help to associate them a bit with one of the labels associated with the release of Where Thieves Cannot Tread, Thumper Punk Records. TPR has done a great job at keeping a repertoire of like-minded artists, both in musical and ideological mindedness. Jump Ship Quick fits right in with the TPR roster of bands like Absolved and False Idle, playing upbeat, Christ-centered punk rock. You could easily place all these bands on the same bill for a show with zero discrepancy as to the bands being too good for one another or the genres being unbalanced. I will say first off that if you are a Thumper Punk fan of any kind, your TPR playlist will include several tracks from Where Thieves Cannot Tread.
With all family association out of the way, let’s delve into the details behind Jump Ship Quick’s debut album. This full-length is well produced and mixed (the producer is the saxophonist for Five Iron Frenzy and the mixer/masterer has also worked with FIF), the instruments sounding clear and crisp, well balanced and interwoven with one another (with the exception of the vocals, which I’ll get into later). I find this rather impressive for a band that has hardly even publicized many demos or had a prior EP release. It takes some bands several releases to reach this level of professionalism.
Before DIY punk-lovers bring up any objection to the band’s trim-cut sound (I’m used to the Plan-it X motto “If it ain’t cheap, it ain’t punk” too, but let’s try to open our minds for a second), keep in mind they draw from several realms of the massive punk sub-genre web, from pop-punk to street punk, screaming out NOFX and Pennywise influence throughout their songs’ structures. Without a finely tuned balance, a large portion of their sound would be sacrificed for the sake of roughness. In other words, the suit and tie looks good on Jump Ship Quick! Sometimes this brings about a blend of solid influences that brings no gripes, albeit no remarkable praises either; the other times have elements of potentially unaware plagiarism occurring in songs like “Mask On Greed”, which starts out as its own song but later could perfectly sung along with the lyrics of NOFX’s “Linoleum” right through the verses. Whether they knew or not how similar the two songs are, I’m certain it will happen again with some future pop-punk band ripping-off the tasty melodies in “He Must Increase”‘s guitar solos and catchy choruses. Those parts are purely addictive and hard to get out of the mind once they’ve entered through your ears. I also appreciate their versatility to go from a pop-punk anthem to the aggressive straight-edge circle-pit rally call “Here Come The Clowns”. The song boasts rapid drum work and respective guitar and bass accompaniment, all behind the aggressive, yet perfectly clean lead vocals.
My only performance criticism I have toward Where Thieves Cannot Trend is sadly one of the focal-points of the band’s sound: the vocals. They shine under certain angles of light, such as with gang vocals, harmonies, or a talked-through bridge, but it is only under these angles that the vocals contain any amount of definition or substance. The passion that should be found in roughness and vocal grit when he yells “Here come the clowns!” leaves the listener feeling substantially less angry than what is attempted to be portrayed, leaning more on the strained, almost annoying side. Every note and lyric is well articulated, but there is simply a lack emotion that make the listener believe that the words delivered are truly felt within the singer. I must always leave room for subjective appreciation of the vocal style Jump Ship Quick boasts; while I have never enjoyed the vocals very much, I feel there is room for them to be enjoyed within various musical tastes.
The lyrics, though delivered in a way that is more “heard” than “felt”, bring the listener to a full understanding of what the band is about, unashamed of their convictions and ready to share them with the world. Topics range from religious/political blasts (there is an abortion song to be heard), social trends, rejection of drug-use, and faith in all its strengths and struggles. The band has a solid theological worldview when relating the love of Christ and denouncing the deception of manipulating His Word as a way of gaining more in this world. Songs like “He Must Increase, “Where Thieves Cannot Tread”, and “Sun Sets” portray such a message in a way that is practical and adherent to truth and understanding, which is a pleasant change from trying to decipher the diction of those who preach with a blurry objective. Many bands go out with a message of “The world is bad, Christianity is great”, providing no further explanation of God’s love other than their happiness of it. Jump Ship Quick does an excellent job attributing the question of social norms and belief systems in a search for truth and reason, which in their experience alludes to Christ’s love being the answer to all such questions of truth. When your convictions are not explained, they leave the choir content and the godless jaded. “Sun Sets” shows JSQ’s sensitivity to the perspective of the jaded ones, hoping to provide some level of clarity.
Overall: Where Thieves Cannot Trend lays a decent foundation for what could be a notable punk act in the future. Simple, honest, unashamed, and heartfelt lyrics are united with punk riffage that, respective to the lyrics, doesn’t push boundaries but proves to be a well-oiled machine of musicality. There are many moments of this album that give me hope for a bright, Jump Ship Quick filled future, but they’re going to need a greater push to define their sound beyond the realms of safety in generics. I consider this a decent first release, but I encourage you not only check this album out, but to follow these guys as they progress. As the saying goes, “Once more, with feeling.”
RIYL: Absolved, False Idle, NOFX