Conflated by the various inspirations of music that The Jones Title love, Birkenhead is a mosaic of their musical confluence now. The album takes a little bit of what part of their musical journey they’ve stationed at and express through quality busking. That’s how every band goes through, building to something they would have never even dreamed of earlier. Let’s look at Birkenhead with them.
Chasing quality sound & style
The title song uses some very interesting sound inserts. The guitar wails like a siren as the bass sets up a stage to play around on. The overlapping sounds then settle to a 90’s Coldplay sound. The dynamic between the bass and guitar is what piques our interest, as the vocals are a layer above them. Providing solid support, the drums are the spine that is malleable to the sound at times. A very powerful opening track. I heard a lot of alt-rock band influences in their song, here is what they have to say about their influences:
We’ve definitely got a lot of disparate influences in our musical DNA, and I think that’s in large part due to all of the different musicians that inspire us. We’ve managed to find a really unique way to cobble together all of these different sounds into something that’s uniquely ours. As a band we definitely pull from everything as varied as Springsteen, U2, Third Eye Blind, Tedeschi Trucks Band and a whole lot of other really solid rock bands.
As individuals there’s a much wider net we pull from, whether it be Jason Isbell and John Mayer for our lead singer Brian. Mark Knopfler and Slash for our guitarist Joey, Flea and Chris Wolstenhome for our bassist Roger.John Bonham and Zach Lind for our drummer Justin.
However, as a band though we honestly don’t think too much about what we’re pulling from. We’re constantly sharing songs and artists that inspire us with each other as general conversation starters (War on Drugs, Cat Power, Jacob Collier just to name a few). We’ve always set out to just make the music that we want to hear. It’s created a sound that does feel distinctly like our own though which is something that we’re immensely proud of.
The image of rock-deconstruction
She Don’t Know is where we really get to hear some exciting sounds unfold. The bassline adopts a very Trent Reznor style distortion that helps you keep it within the mix. The guitars as usual, dance around the bassline creating a whirlpool of often unpredictable sounds. A very melodic progression is unpacked in the chorus, each voice from the band changing the weather a little. The slides and bends are really nice to hear while not affecting the magic of the verses. I asked them what drove them to this sound during an era of rock revival. Here is what The Jones Title had to say:
It’s interesting to call it a rock revival, because it really feels like the world is just so overflowing with content these days. We never really had a conscious discussion about what kind of music we were making, or if we were fitting with any particular movements or styles. Oftentimes when we talk about our music we talk about whether or not it feels honest, rather than what lane or genre it fits within. We make the music we want to make and we’re less worried with where it falls genre-wise.
Crafting music from memories
We think more than anything the most important thing in today’s artistic landscape is to be honest about the music that you make. Create something that comes from your heart and says something you believe in. There’s no real magic answer to what’s going to break through and what’s going to be missed by the general cultural spotlight. But even if the world never really looks your way, if you create something that feels honest to what you’re really feeling, then it doesn’t really matter.
Every album is ostensibly just a snapshot of a moment of time. So long as you can listen to your own work and feel like it accurately captures what you were thinking at that point in time, then that’s a reward in and of itself.
Finding inspiration in daily life
The next track has been their most popular amongst the listeners. Hear Me Out is an alt-rock aspiring-to-be-classic. Not because they’re trying hard to, but because the lyrics are so relevant. The rock song shifts tempo and feel diligently and has a wonderful chorus that has the sticky factor. Vocals soar with some superb energy as well. Easily understandable why people keep coming back to listen to this track. They tell us about making this album:
This project has been a really interesting one to undertake because it’s grown pretty organically into what it has become. At first it was just sort of us making the most of opportunities we were being offered, but at some point it became something bigger. Anyone who wants to research the namesake for Birkenhead will likely get an idea of what feelings were inspiring us when making this music. We’ve mostly been focused on making music that speaks for itself.
We’ve put a lot of ourselves and our hearts into this, a lot of late nights in the studio. We oftentimes engineered our own sessions with skills that we taught ourselves out of necessity. There was an attention to detail in our sessions that was at times frustrating, but mostly just appreciated . This meant that every single element you hear in these tracks is intentional. We poured ourselves into this work because it felt like we had something important to say, even though there was no clear product when we began.
It just felt like a collaborative commitment to the process that eventually generated these tracks that we’re all really proud of. We’re not going to sugarcoat our own history and say that our process was always rewarding . Or that we didn’t have conflict, but we can say that we wouldn’t change it for anything. Because without the process, warts and all, we never would’ve settled on these tracks the way we have. We’re proud of the music and believe it really does stand on its own.
Part of a larger picture-Birkenhead
Time is their closing track, and once again has a great bassline to start us off. The drums waltz with the bass before the minimal guitar work makes this a light, fun song. The play between the bass and guitar is what is heard till the chorus comes by. With some nice harmony work, we hear the drums get more intense, really shine through in this song. It’s a very well designed album overall, with the song sequence showcasing what the band can achieve. This is The Jones Title talking about curating the album:
So, we broke the album up into four installments that we’re labeling as Birkenhead parts I, II, III and IV respectively. Partially it was so we could wrap our brains around self producing an 18 track double album and partially because without the marketing machine of a label, a traditional album release would be a flash in a pan. By releasing the album in installments, we’re able to gauge for ourselves what resonates with listeners and also give each track ample attention.
For this first release, otherwise known as The Birkenhead EP, we picked these songs to open the releases because they’re the most immediate both sonically and thematically. The core of the album is about embracing the moment and the dangers of failing to do so, so the opening songs are about dreading the future (Birkenhead) and nostalgia (Time) along with the bitterness that can come with missing the moment (Hear Me Out, She Don’t Know).
Art influences art-inspirations
They have come a long way, and have a lot to go. At least the beginning is this interesting and the group is amped for touring. I wanted to know who all they would like to collaborate with in the present music scene:
How much time have you got? Obviously we’d pounce at the chance to play with any of our musical heroes, Derek Trucks, David Byrne, Beck etc… but in terms of acts that we’ve had the pleasure to share stages with or catch before they blow up, we definitely want to plug John Zdrojeski, who Justin tracked drums for his next record which we’re stoked to listen to when it drops. We’ve always admired David Alan Thornton and you should listen to his new project Notnorth. Also please, please, please check out our friend @schmorgle on Instagram if you want a plethora of vibes and/or you want to get better at mixing and self producing. Records you should catch: ‘Off And Away’ by Earthquake Lights. ‘Play & Rewind’ by Reliant Tom, ‘For Us’ by Noaru, ‘New York Blue’ by The Multiverse Concept.
Quite a list there. Hopefully they can contact Dave Grohl and the guy will lend you a van you can share misery and comfort in. Make sure you’re updated about The Jones Title and follow them for more music.