"Self Titled" By Jetlab (Cincinnati, OH)/Electronic Alt Rock/Released Nov 2014
When a rock band wants to implement electronic elements into their sound it can often be hit or miss. A lot of aspiring musicians grow up wanting to shred like Van Halen or bang the skins like Bonham. But keys and synth in rock and roll is usually much less glamorous. Leading to them often being an after thought in a song or sloppily overused. However these three musicians seem to have found the sweet spot for electronics in rock.
Hailing from the queen city of Cincinnati, JetLab is an electronic rock trio composed of local mainstays Nick Barrows, Elle Crash, and Dave Welsh. Drawing from a variety of influences from the likes of David Bowie, The Talking Heads, and LCD Soundsystem, JetLab sports a unique sound that spans funk, hip hop, soul, and electronica among others.
Barrows and Crash serve as the band’s primary songwriters and each provide unique styles to make for a cohesive sound. Crash plays most of the acoustic guitar while providing her raspy, soul inspired vocals while Barrows plays a mix of electric guitar and synth along with his distinct singing and occasional rapping. Despite the synth and keys the songs maintain a strong upbeat rock sound held together with Welsh’s live percussion.
The album is flush with head bobbing tracks built to get an audience on their feet and moving. “Dance Floor” opens the record and is very reminiscent of 80s new wave. Keyboard loops and an upbeat dance tempo are signatures of the track. “Fire” is a slower paced track centered around a bass-heavy synth groove and hip hop-esque vocals from Nick Barrows. ”Please” is a faster paced rock song held together by dirty toned guitar and synth loops. Featured in the live video above, “What” is led vocally by Elle Crash and is heavily funk inspired. “Unstable” and “Old Days” are more rock centered tracks reminiscent of 90s alternative rock. And closing the record is “Happiness”. A more downtempo track that with mellow guitar and well layered electronics creating a great sense of atmosphere.
The longtime musical experience of JetLab’s members shines through this album. A well mixed blend of genres held together by strong songwriting, a variety of vocal stylings, and an overall sense of fun and passion for their work. The trio has crafted a sound utilizing the best parts of their influences into something unique all their own.