Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Retrospective: JPT Scare Band

I was sent a copy of JPT Scare Band's newest album, Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden, directly from Ripple Music, and I realized that I've never actually heard anything from this group. I knew I had a few of their albums, so I decided to listen to what I had before I got to the brand new. A bit of forewarning, I do not have their full discography (but I would like to) so I'm only including those albums I was able to find. So if you have Acid Acetate Excursion, Rape Of Titan's Sirens, or Rumdum Daddy shoot me a message and share the wealth!
First a little of the legend: The JPT Scare Band formed in the early 70s but didn't actually release any albums until the mid-90s, being content just to jam and write. So for almost thirty years they were as underground as you could possibly be - unheard of and very little way to spread your fan base beyond the places you gig. After they decided to start recording and distributing, the group began to make headway; Classic Rock Magazine dubbed them "The Lost Pioneers of Heavy Metal," Rhapsody cited their album Past Is Prologue within their list of the 10 Essential Proto-Metal Albums, and they were scooped up by Ripple Music, to release Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden. Not to shabby for only being on the scene for a little over a decade. Obviously they do what they do well, which is what I am about to discover.

Sleeping Sickness - 2000
Well I started at the beginning (of my collection) with Sleeping Sickness, which introduced me to the groups vintage, retro-rock/proto-metal style of playing. Imagine crossing Led Zeppelin with The Allman Brothers and mix in a pinch of Wishbone Ash (yes I'm 24 and I know this band), that amalgamation of sound and noise is what this album of JPT Scare Band is to me. The album is a modern version of retro-rock, coming straight from the early 70s. Sleeping Sickness contains some of the groups longest songs, adding a bit of progressive rock to the mix, but also contains some solid rockers too. The vocals are reminiscent of Zep, the song complexity is that of The Allmans, and the song instrumental sections come a la Ash. A must have for anyone who thinks that rock died in the 80s.

Past Is Prologue - 2001
Past Is Prologue is the JPT Scare Band's most solid record, the songs are all very bluesy, and jam oriented. This album isn't nearly as hard rock as Sleeping Sickness was, instead trading the eclectic nature of their sound for a much more focused undertaking of blues rock. The song quality of this album is the best overall of any I have heard, the jams are great, the long songs don't get lost within the music as much (not as droning and repetitive as some of the songs on the other albums), but the vocals don't suffer any because of this. While this album is not as adventurous as either Sleeping Sickness or Jamm Vapour, it does make up for it in the steadiness of songs and style. Not as retro-rock as the others, but still a great record, I could easily listen to it again; many times.

Jamm Vapour - 2007
Jamm Vapour is a bit more laid back then Sleeping Sickness was, the songs are more bluesy and jam-oriented. It's still retro-rock, but this time around I hear more of a Blue Cheer influence (especially in the song "Right Mind" which sounds a bit like their cover of "Summer Time Blues"), and for the song "Gelo Jam," the longest on the album, reminds me of Jimi Hendrix (minus the crazy guitar solos of course). Jamm Vapour, while not as good as its predecessors, seems to be an album where the group tried showcasing some of their other talents and sounds that they have been playing around with for a while. It's a decent record and it makes me wonder where they are going to go, sonically, for their follow-up.

Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden - 2010
It's hard to imagine that the JPT Scare Band has only been releasing albums for a little over a decade, listening to their discography you would swear that they began recording in the 70s and that Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden is their tenth album, released some time in the 90s. It's as if the band is using it's long time together as a reference to speed through all of the styles in a decade that a normal band would chug through in three. Sleeping Sickness and Jamm Vapour are both very 70s, while Past Is Prologue seems a bit more like the 80s era, when most proto-metal bands (Deep Purple, Uriah Heep) started putting out primarily blues records. Now we are in the 90s, with the band mixing in contemporary rock, of the likes of Eric Clapton and ilk - a very different style then the previous ones. I know I'm missing some albums, so my explanation may not be wholly accurate, but I think it works quite well (with the information I'm given). This album is much more laid back then it's predecessors, again seeming more akin to the 90s alternative movement. Now, I'm not saying the retro-rock jam feeling of the group's music is gone, it's just aged a bit, into a new direction and explanation. This album moves from alternative to blues and back again just as quick. The only gripe I have is the track "Stone House Blues" has so much feedback/static in the background that it makes the song hard to listen to. It just needs some cleaning up, and it would be another great blues song for the masses, but it is of a superb quality, I could easily see someone mistaking it as a Led Zeppelin B-Side.

The JPT Scare Band is a rock anomaly; although they've been around as long as many of the greats, they have only been recording music within the past decade or two. This has led (in my opinion) to them jamming in their forty-plus years of stylistic evolutions and changes into a much smaller time period. While other long-term bands have had plenty of time to let their music age and grow, the JPT Scare Band is trying to get it all out there as soon as possible. I look forward to their next release, to hear their stylistic changes from their 90s rock-era into the millennium. This band is great, I wish I had discovered them sooner, or better yet, had been privy to their career prior to them actually recording anything.

2 comments:

Paul said...

thanks man! great run down on our stuff. We do have another album you probably need to have, Rumdum Daddy is what it's called and we did most of that work in 2004. Send me a note with your snail mail stuff and I'll send you one with a t-shirt. Paul G.
my email goes to Dr. Bomar at bomar@jptscareband.com

The Klepto said...

Not a problem, it is great music. Expect an email sent your way, I'd love to hear what I've been missing!
Thanks a ton