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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: JIMM - In[can]decence


JIMM is a multi-instrumentalist and former project musician from Paris, France. In[can]decence is his second release, his self titled debut dates back to 2013. To be honest my expectations weren’t set too high when I read what little info they sent along and, more important, what this new release was supposed to sound like. Him having drawn his inspiration and influences from bands from the nineties like Nirvana, Guns n’ Roses, Alter Bridge and Therapy? and me not being the biggest nineties-metal fan to say the least, this is bound to be a match made in hell, right?

Wrong.

The aforementioned enumeration of influencing bands proved to be far from complete. In fact, if I had to compile a list of bands that have left their traces in JIMM’s music the first two would be The Ramones and the infamous Sex Pistols. Nevertheless the influence of the late nineties is clearly present as well, which isn’t all that strange considering the fact a lot of grunge bands used elements from and refueled the interest in old school punk. As to be expected from this combination In[can]decence is filled with punk garnished with a healthy dose of metal.

Quite an explosive mix, even more flammable due to the aggression JIMM has put in most of the songs. Almost everything on this album has an aggressive, wired up feel over it, much like the old school punk used to have: song composition, guitar work, solos, vocals, you name it. Although the well-known punk mantra ‘I don’t give a shit’ is omnipresent in the atmosphere of most songs, this album and its songs are not all about addressing political frustrations and anti-establishment opinions. A good portion of the songs on In[can]decence has lyrical themes that formed the base of most grunge bands, dealing with more personal and intimate problems like dreams, social isolation and mental issues.

As if the variety of troubling issues both punk and grunge provide is not enough, JIMM kicks off with what is probably the most complicated subject to tackle nowadays: Religion. The furious album opener ‘Jamais de trêves’, which can roughly be translated as ‘never a truce’ , is an indictment of the abuse of religion to gain power. It’s a powerful song, which ominously radiates both rage and fear, mainly due to the threatening riffs and the angry vocals. Even though the lyrics are in French, like they are on the entire album, you’ll have no problem whatsoever figuring out where he stands in this matter. If this were to set the tone for the entire album, I’m in for a treat, but alas, it does not quite do that.

The opener is the best song in my opinion, and even though the other songs are not comparable to it, this in no way disqualifies them. All other nine songs are well above average, with roughly half of them leaning more towards punk while the other half has more metal influences. Since I prefer punk over grungy metal the songs ‘Jour de gloire’ (day of glory), ‘Pourri gâté’ (spoiled rotten) and ‘Le miroir’ (the mirror) are among my favorites. All three are punk-ridden, fast-riffed songs with a prominent role for the drums, the cymbals and the provoking vocal lines. The screaming solos are a great addition to each and every song, which can also be said about the solos in the more grunge oriented songs. In these songs the speed gets taken down a notch, the anger in the vocals subsides a little and the overall mood lightens a bit, making these songs easier to digest without getting cheesy or boring. Songs like ‘Je cherche à m’endormir’ (I try to fall asleep) and ‘Adrenaline’ are definitely worth more than a few spins. The only relative point of rest on the entire album comes in the form of the song ‘Ton souffre douler’ (your scapegoat), in which the punk seems to have disappeared completely.

With In[can]decence JIMM delivers a well above average album that appeals to the musical needs and wishes of a wide range of rock, punk and metal fans. The musical execution of the songs is impeccable, JIMM truly is a multi-instrumentalist. In terms of composition and production there’s not much to complain either. Solidly composed, all the necessary elements, the songs on this album are pretty much the complete package within the musical boundaries JIMM has set for himself, with a strong sound to go along. The vocals tend to be more on the punk side, which implies screaming in anger and frustration every now and then. I for one have no problem with that, but I’m sure this does not apply to everyone. Nevertheless, even if punk vocals are not your cup of tea, I’d still recommend to give it a shot, chances are you will enjoy it anyway.

Written by Henric van Essen

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