By: Johnny Goff
In the suburban Haight 'n' Ashbury college town where one of the slogans is "Ithaca: 10 square miles surrounded by reality," one might assume the profession of musician is as common as professor or plumber. Which makes it even more astounding that one of the best up-and-coming bands from Ithaca has yet to be heard of by half the town, let alone the masses outside the rolling hills of Upstate New York. Jimkata is an experimental rock quartet consisting of four twenty-somethings, and their inaugural, self-titled, self-released, five-song album is full of roller-coaster tempos, blended harmonies and refreshingly tight vocals that never lets the listener get too comfortable.
Riding the fine line of jam and alternative rock, Jimkata’s sound is like farm grown produce: crisp and fresh. Fixated on themes of change - uprooting from the past and potential risks when stepping out into life – guitarist-lead vocalist Evan Friedell's incredibly unique baritone and delivery make the album’s few mundane "jam moments" irrelevant. "Submarine" immediately brings Oysterhead to mind with David Rossi's deliberate bassline and drummer Packy Lunn’s precise pouncing into a six-minute schizophrenic kickdown with nicely layered keyboard samples. The following two tracks are a well-song mix of Frank Zappa, 311 and Pearl Jam as lead guitarist Aaron Gorsch shows his versatility, moving from structured, synchronized consistency into soprano ballad busting licks on "The Scene" and "All in the Mind."
The final cut, "Mind Crossing," isn't very technically or creatively demanding but it's sure as hell the most fun. With a nonsensical chorus, a highly infectious dance beat and a couple well-timed breaks in the 'untz,' this nearly 8-minute closer leaves the listener pleasantly confused, intrigued and ready to listen again. Like watching The Usual Suspects for the first time, you'll definitely catch something else the next time around.
JamBase | Ithaca
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