The Edge of Neil

Better Off Without Air (Initial Records)
The Jazz June

By David Lilly

Only a rock band from Kutztown, Pa., could incorporate the vibe of War-era U2 into its own sound -- without ripping off U2 -- and be approached by and sign with a Louisville label. Most of The Jazz June's recordings have been released by Initial Records. Let me tell you why that's good.

The Jazz June rocks with the energy of a fresh battery with a melancholy ambiance - again, they're not stealing, but some of this music also evokes some of Neil Young's work -- yet it isn't depressing. It sounds good to me and I encourage you to hear it. What sounds like springy electric worms bouncing around during "Drugs and Model" is actually really well-played, boinging electric guitar. With an attraction like that you can sing anything you want without getting too deep in makeup.

"Uptown Explosion" trots at sundown through one of those small-population towns where they don't like strangers, rocking under the threat of dark clouds. Final comparison: if U2 covered Young's "Hawks and Doves," it probably would sound something like the title song of this album. "Dual Symmetry" is 45 seconds of percussive partying and electric razor guitar interaction that has a life of its own and could have gone on several minutes without getting in the way. Last, but not least, the band has fun with an underwater explosion called "The Submarine Song."

The Jazz June guys have a few albums under their collective belt. Having not heard their previous work, I've read that this album is quite a departure from their other work. Any band that isn't afraid to change is a friend of mine. The pursuit of TJJ knowledge leads to a click of www.geocities.com/the_jazzjune/, as well as their entry at www.allmusicguide.com