steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Go!" CD


Genres: alternative rock, mainstream

PO Box 1960
Dover NH

Dec 8 - 14 2003

I can really identify with Jera. It's just something about their music that makes it seem that the type of music that me, the Everyman, would write.

Unfortunately, me, the Everyman, is a talentless hack whose only musical difference from Jera is that I at least have the modesty to admit that I can't create music.

Creation is the key word here, boys and girls, because what we hear in Jera's Go! is some of the most uncreative stuff I've heard in a while. And this comes after a day of being subjected to the horrors of commercial radio. The material on Go! sounds recycled straight from whatever alt-rock radio station hails from New Hampshire (On closer note, the album liners credit 105.3 WSHK and 100.3 WHEB. Blame those stations.) The lyrics are unsophisticated in their craft and devoid of any real, original expression. I mean, haven't we all heard "So I write myself to sleep/Because I'm afraid to tell you/how I feel" before? When the band tries to add intelligent substance to their lyrics it comes in meaningless, boring stanzas like "Too many Kings/These plastic people/With their so called lives/Are eating me away". Any angsty goth can just set their poetry to boring, borrowed tunes from whatever the latest hit single is on 105.3 WSHK. What sets a good band apart from Jera is meaning: meaning in the lyrics, meaning in the music, meaning for the listener. I don't see how anybody could tell Jera apart from any other homogenized rock band. This is what they make Muzak for.

Perhaps the album's greatest travesty is what is undoubtedly their attempt at their super-deep masterpiece, "The Penny." Our boys in Jera clearly want to set this song apart, opening with ominous programmed synth pads and exotic foreign-sounding Eastern strings and drums. It's not dramatic when you know what's coming. The boys use simple, bland symbolism to try to make their song 'deeper'. It is the epic saga of a penny, a penny representing all of the hopes and dreams of the narrator, which ends up getting lost, never to be found. But at this point we don't care. It's happened to so many other bands in the past that the schtick is starting to get a bit old. By the time the song finally ends with a dramatic 'No' we are all shocked at how much one single word can embody all of our thoughts about this album.

I'll give the boys a bit of credit, and perhaps not even a 0% for plagiarism. The songs and lyrics do actually sound somewhat heartfelt. The album is dedicated to Tom and Edie Leighton, most likely parents of guitarist Gary - and songs like "Angel", with lyrics about the band's 'angels of love', show the band sounding like they mean it. Unfortunately, that still doesn't make a good song. Goth poetry can be as angst-ridden as it wants; that still doesn't make it any good. The same goes for Go!. Although the songs are performed with decent technical ability, sounding nice and clean and orderly, it still doesn't make up for the complete void where any originality should be. Nickelback fans who can't afford the exorbitant cost of arena concert tickets, rejoice! There's an excellent clone here in Jera. Unfortunately, Jera are still clones, and clones of an awful band as well.


Engelbert K. Mutton

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by CD Baby, released 2003]