By Brian Washburn
Fire the Cannons
Jet Lag Gemini
Pop-punk bands have not only begun to saturate the underground music scene, much like a few years ago, but now they have starting to overflow on radio and previous caution zones like MTV. However, with their debut album Fire The Cannons, New Jersey-based pop-punk/rock band Jet Lag Gemini (and no, according to their Web site, their name is not associated with the popular Nintendo game Jet Force Gemini) have put more into the genre, which may result in the genre putting more into the band in the form of popularity, as well as credibility in the music scene.
The album opens with the band’s first single Run This City. The song has been featured on several TV shows, including some on MTV, and is the catchiest song without a doubt on the CD. While the lyrics might seem hit-and-miss and the vocals are a bit generic (a mix between the regular high-pitch pop-punk vocals and the nasally vocals of Billy Talent and Coheed, just a bit deeper), the guitar work on Run This City and just about every other track on Fire The Cannons is what truly sets this record apart from it’s predecessors.
Guitarist Vlad Gheorghiu packs the album with sweeping, tapping, ’80s metal solos and big rock chords. It’s this guitar work which gives listeners the feel of a fresh breeze from the usual play bar chord, palm mute verse of today’s punk/rock scene.
While Gheorghiu brings his A-game to the album, the rest of the band—Gheorghiu, vocalist/guitarist Micha Safonov (a native Russian), bassist Matt Gheorghiu (Vlad’s brother) and drummer Dan DiLiberto—do bring theirs at times, such as in the fan-favorite Bittersweet.
Lyrically, the album is about as hit-and-miss as anything on the radio or in the pop-punk music scene. Although at times Safonov’s lyrics can become cliche and a bit redundant, they are hit-and-miss because they are merely forgettable at times. However, he does know how to write one hell of a chorus to go along with a rock hook.
But even though the first half of Fire The Cannons will keep listeners enamored with pop-punk hooks, rock vocals, simplistic drums and shredding guitars, the second half (from If It Was Up To Me on) is almost as forgettable as the last three or four seasons of Friends.
Jet Lag Gemini is currently doing a stint on this summer’s Warped Tour. Even though very few music aficionados might not have heard of JLG, they probably have caught their hook-laden rock at least once on TV or in passing.
Fire The Cannons might not propel JLG to the superstar ranks of the likes of Fall Out Boy, Plain White T’s or even All Time Low, but it will definitely serve it’s purpose of getting the band’s name out where it needs to be; into a scene which could possibly receive JLG sophomore release (whenever they plan to release it) and sky rocket that album to the top of the scene.
Final Thought: As I learned last week at Warped Tour, several of your future favorite bands can be found by going to a concert and watching bands you have never heard before. Even though there might be a number of times where you find yourself disappointed and unsatisfied, the one time you’re mesmerized by a band you’ve just discovered is unforgettable. Plus, it makes for finding new music through the radio and MTV a thing of the past. Wouldn’t it be horrible if we were all listening to bands like Nickelback and Hinder? That’s what I thought.
By Brian Washburn