Excelsior, the newest album from Boston natives The Jauntee, is a breath of fresh air carrying with it in the winds the beauty and familiarity of all that was pure and pleasant from one’s early young adulthood when first introduced to the sounds of modern jam-rock. Finely polished and attuned with skill and delivery, the “pay what you want” album is available now on the group’s Bandcamp page, with a suggested donation of $10. for which you will receive a physical copy of the outstanding studio effort.
As the band slowly conquers the northeast and beyond, committing themselves to upwards of 100 shows per year, the foursome follow up their 2012 debut release of Enjoy The Ride with a fantastic recording, produced, mixed, and mastered by Warren Amerman at Rotary Records in West Springfield, MA.
Opening with “Good Ol’ Boy”, The Jauntee steadily tap and swing directly into your soul. The pitch and harkening lovesick blues, laced with sweeping guitar picking, peaking and retreating, tension and release, touches upon stoned soulful sexiness. Atop this, the band treads a fine line between humorous and carefully developed lyrics. The words matter not, for it’s the screaming guitar work of Caton Sollenberger and his interplay with Tyler Adams on keys as they dance the delicate waltz of jammy jubilee while Scott Ferber on drums and John Loland on bass hold and mold the beat.
With mixes of R&B and Big Band era swing, the band shares a special language with one another. The finely orchestrated ensemble manages to keep it light, disguising their talent and execution as improvisational jamming. The song structures are comprised of intricate sections leaving plenty of room for the live setting.
“Excelsior”, the seventh track on the album, climbs steadily upward and onward, reaching peaking points of blistering guitar finger work, a sendup of joy, only to calmly drop again into a proverbial pillow of pleasure. There are traces of the greatness of early 1990’s Phish, without the redundant trite juxtaposed with the dozens of copycat jambands. The sound manages to remain original, while taking all that is good from the likes of Phish, moe., or The Samples, and rounding it out with increasing dexterity and polish.
Extremely tight, preplanned, and rhythmically warm, each of the album’s eight tracks create a playground of casual jubilee. A big top circus of jovialness, the lyrics combine humor with seriousness, in the style of Frank Zappa or Harry Nilsson, while sprinkled upon their live setting sound. While playful and joyous, beneath the simple lyrics lurk subtle and sensitive themes.
Harmonically gifted, the band is still able to rely on their musical chops to create pleasant dreamscapes, only to pivot into a light jazz breakdown or climb with winding and reckless abandon…then…release! The sound is captivating, alight with confidence and little compulsion pushing any particular message. The theme is fun. It’s as if the music carries the band rather than the band creating the musical adventure that we’re taken upon.
A torch has been passed. While circumnavigating or completely disregarding the last twenty years of electronic trancefusion, The Jauntee resurrect the greats of the early 90’s jam scene, taking the template from bands who paid their dues in clubs like The Wetlands (New York City’s now defunct TriBeCa club) or Kenny’s Castaways. These four fabulously talented musicians bring their unique style and fresh sound, filling a hole in our hearts that we had forgotten was even there. With a heavy touring schedule on the horizon, the time(travel) is happening now, and we could all be so lucky to experience it as they soar to great heights. Sure to graduate from small clubs to theatres, summer sheds and arenas are certainly not far away.
Pick up their new album here, and don’t miss them in Ithaca tomorrow night for a Magnaball pre-party extraordinaire! The group will also be performing in the Pigeons Playing Ping Pong “You Enjoy My Dick’s” run of show surrounding Phish’s concerts at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO. More information about that can be found here.