Jaill - That's How We BurnCreative spellers and Milwaukee four-piece Jaill sound like the type of band that “practices” rather than “jams.” Every song on their big label debut That’s How We Burn fits into a cohesive garage-pop aesthetic; the riffs are watertight, the drum licks indestructible. Never mind improvising — everything from lead singer Vincent Kircher’s conversational melodies to the subdued hints of Wisconsin twang — feel polished and calculated.

When executed properly, this strategy knocks it out of the park. Like the sweet bubblegum pop riffage on “Everybody’s Hip” (which could have easily been written by a member of Vancouver’s own indie rock royalty). Hooks are clean and distilled to their most energizing essence. The track stands out as the sunniest effort on an album that seems to intentionally evoke images of empty saloons and overcast beaches.

However, such a methodological approach to Midwestern alt-rock is at times deflated. Like that uneasy feeling caused by a stark turn in the weather, many songs leave you wishing the lyrics were actually saying something, or that there were at least a few solid weeks left in the summer. In fact, That’s How We Burn is sort of a sonic manifestation of the end of summer blues, rife with inoffensive jangling and semi-boring guitar solos.

Published September 2010.

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