Album Review: The Grandstand Jockeys’ “&Show”
TROY – Closing out their cycle of EPs, Win, and Place, with &Show, The Grandstand Jockeys have truly saved their best for last. With their latest record, the band has successfully built upon what made the other two EPs enjoyable and shot it up at least three levels. Drifting more towards punk-rock on this record, the material is much more visceral in its subject matter while continuing to provide listeners with chugging riffs, monstruous solos, and catchy melodies.
An incredibly sludgy riff on guitar opens the track “Gun,” and thus the album. While there isn’t much to say about this particular tune, the guitar work, as always, is stellar. One thing that really stands out about the band’s lyrics is the fact that their repetitious nature makes it very easy for listeners to get engaged with the material, as they can sing along to songs they might not know yet. As cool as this is for an album, I guarantee you it would work even better in a live setting; this song would explode live.
Following up with the heavily political “It’s All About the Money” paves the way for quite the sobering and intense narrative. Throughout the heavy rock riffage, well-formed melodies, and solid arrangement, listeners are confronted with extremely tongue-in-cheek lyrics about government and money. Extremely punk in its ethos, this is a banger; the guitar solo with its changing modalities really adds to the tune.
In “Freedom,” track three, there’s a persistent guitar figure that I sink my teeth into quite easily Throughout the tune, my ears are continuously led to the guitar tones; they’re f*cking killer. The added percussion near the end of the track during the repeated refrains was unexpected, but it helped expand the sonic texture and break up whatever monotony existed.
Some of the themes from the second track come back in “Destroyer,” track four. The marching in the beginning of the song adds to the whole vibe of “new world order” that permeates the lyrics. Combining that feeling with the shouting gang vocals on the chorus and the almost industrial-sounding effects put on the guitar, the band has definitely crafted an eerie and captivating rock tune.
Sung in a screaming fashion through the majority of the concluding tune, “Empty,” the melody is really out front and center. The anxiety that comes from start-to-finish on this record, but especially on this track, is palpable, to say the very least. It’s in this way that The Grandstand Jockeys have pivoted from a hard-rock sound to more of a punk-rock one.
I’m not saying the other records released by the band were ineffective, but the material in this collection has really upped the band’s game. The concluding release of the band’s triptych-esque releases of Win, Place, &Show, is a fantastic way for them to finish the cycle. With an improvement in material, this particular listener can’t wait to see what’s up next for The Grandstand Jockeys. Check the record out for yourself here.