What's the most surprising characteristic about this DIY-sounding album? That it's not just some dude holed up in his parents' basement multi-tracking in the bathroom to achieve that just-so sound. Because it seriously sounds like that. However, The Black Jacket is a full band featuring a number of members from Phoenix's best (and now defunct) ska band, the Dietrichs. The best tune on this effort is "Like Father Like Daughter," which features guitar lines bouncing along with enthusiastic drum passages before the song slows down to a half-time that leaves room for a spacious, slightly hazy electric guitar solo. The main listening challenge throughout the nine-track album is to put up with the distorted and disarming vocals, which don't often match the chilled-out instrumentation. Basically, 30 years ago, during Gary Wilson's You Think We Really Know Me-era, this album would have sounded awesome and super-ahead of its time. But today, it just sounds pretty good. Proceeds from CD sales go to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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