A love letter, a period piece–whatever you chose to call it, Jade Dust’s new 12-inch EP, Wild Geese, is an authentic representation of 1980s punk rock. Although it’s certainly belongs in the hardcore world, its melodic touchpoints certainly set it apart not only from their hometown scene in Portland, Oregon, but certainly within the curent state of hardcore at large.
In a time where heavy music laden with breakdowns is currently casting a long shadow, Jade Dust is a bright patch actively breaking through the current state of affairs.
Kicking off your record with your title track may be a seemingly innocous choice to the untrained ear, but in reality, it’s a bold move. Regardless of its placement, the title track should be a firm assertion of what to expect throughout the record.
In "Wild Geese," punchy drum beats fit for bouncing, vocal hooks reminiscent of Unity, infectious bass grooves, and stand out guitar leads commonly found in indie rock or post hardcore certainly set the tone for the rest of the record. In this case, it was a bold move for the band that proved to be a wise choice for the sequence.
Although twice the length of its predecessor, the second song, "Lie and Wait," continues the groundwork built in the first song and builds on it with stimulating transitions that steer the song from melodic to aggressive with the injection of an infectuous, fist-forming chorus. The clean vocals carry this song through Dischord Records territory with ease, paired with lyrical lamentations of loss.
Track three, "Waking Nightmare," starts with a slow and heavy groove with lyrics that read as a declaration of disbelief. Despite the melancholy tones of the music, the declaration being made is a call to action to separate the self from the occurrence of every day horrors. The pairing of the darkness found within the music and the optimistic tone of the lyrics provides a contrast that is both cleansing and thought provoking, moving the the record further into a cerebral territory. Every act made is intentional and this song is proof.
The first side of the record is closed out with more At The Drive-In style noodling set to mid-tempo drums in "Levitate," which is perhaps the record’s only song so deeply steeped in metaphor. Its meaning is completely open to interpretation. The track provides a smooth transition to the record’s B-Side, which features melodic and emotive explorations aplenty in the tracks "Empty Tomes"—a call out to music without meaning, "Weightless"—the punk rock urge to disavow the notion of a creator, and finally with "Absolution"—grieving for the current state of the Earth’s deplorability.
All in all, Wild Geese sets out to continue the good word Jade Dust have done in their short time as a band, bringing an analog sound to a digital world. Although its subtlety maybe lost on younger listeners whoever who have come up in the age of modern, polished recordings, the record has elements that must be recognized—its legs and layers. Simply put, the deft placement of background vocal melodies and unconventional guitar leads over classic power chord arrangements truly set the ground floor for this record to stand on. Vocalist Rudi Jung’s lyrical themes are contemplative, reflective, and above all, relatable.
Intentional or not, the band’s heartfelt approach spoken of in "Empty Tomes" is a backdrop for Wild Geese as a whole. If you’re looking for something with soul and a sound–two things that not commonly found in today’s music world–then look no further than the latest offering from Jade Dust.
Wild Geese will be out on October 21st from Extinction Burst and Ebullition Records (pre-order).
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