The mid 90s through to the mid 00s was by far my most prolific period for new music discovery and consumption. While I’ve stumbled across plenty of other bands in the years since that I love, the vast majority of my listening is still made up of bands from that millennium crossing decade.
As much as I consumed back then, I’m constantly surprised by how much I missed. Bands who seem to so perfectly fit the mould I loved then, and now. Bands like Jawbreaker. Who, despite their music making heyday being in perfect sync with my music listening heyday, I’d never even heard of until a year or so ago. And when it was time to give them ago, I chose their album 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, purely because it has the one and only Jawbreaker song I had heard before now.
Right out the gate, this album hits hard with The Boat Dreams From the Hill, the kind of punk rock, indie rock combo that defines a large part of this era for me. Indictment brings a little more pop punk melody, but in no way tones down the bratty edge of the album opener.
Then comes Boxcar, the only song I’d heard before and the song that made me finally listen to this band. Even if it wasn’t their version that made me finally notice Jawbreaker, hearing the original makes me realise why they seem to be such an important band to so many music writers whose opinion I generally trust. Maybe it was the added advantage of familiarity, but Boxcar is the real standout on 24 Hour Revenge Theory for me.
Jawbreaker changes things up with Outpatient, a constant battle between quiet and loud, gentle and aggressive. Then it’s back into a proven formula with Condition Oakland and theuncontainable energy of The Boat Dreams From the Hill.
Then it’s time to kick back with Ache, Jawbreaker’s sensitive side. Slowed down, more intimate vocals. Even when it gets bigger, it’s still the most restrained offering on 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. It’s far from my favourite song on the album, but it’s a nice little breather that makes the energy of something like Do You Still Hate Me? all the more impactful.
Penultimate track Jinx Removing is straight up punk rock, and one of my favourite songs on the album. Which also makes closer, In Sadding Around all the more disappointing. It’s not a bad song, it’s just not as good as everything that comes before. I probably would have liked it more if it was buried mid album. But as an ending, and coming straight off Jinx, it’s just a little underwhelming.
As someone new to the band, this album really works. In the span of 11 songs and just 37m minutes, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy makes me feel like Jawbreaker is a band who earned their ever growing reputation, a band who I should have paid attention too much, much earlier, and a band who will be finding their way into higher rotation in my own music listening… And with only four albums to their name, it won’t take long to dig all the way to the bottom of their catalogue.