Far from being as world-weary as their name might suggest, Jaded Sun are an upbeat, celebratory act. They revel unselfconsciously in the influence of radio friendly rock of the 2000s. They feel like a band who started out playing covers of The Killers and Kings of Leon in pubs before graduating to their own material – and they aren’t afraid to wear this influence on their sleeve.
Despite the number one in the EP title this is far from Jaded Sun’s first release. The group have been on the go for a decade and have an album (‘Gypsy Trip’ ) and several EPs under their belts.
Yet ‘JS1’ still bears a kind of ‘by the numbers approach’, with catchy fills, melodic guitar parts and one-note lyrics that gives the impression of an emerging act that hasn’t fully released the safety rope of emulating their influences.
Opening track Another Way to Say No teases out the promise of hard rock with a fuzzy bassline intro, but this quickly swept aside by a bland, finely polished guitar part that is a bit too poppy for a band who probably aren’t trying to write pop songs. The finely balanced layers of sound on display are evidence of some very fine behind the scenes production work, but when this attracts more notice than the songs themselves it’s not really a good thing.
Left in a Hurry and Hold on to One Thing do a very similar things to the opening track. The slow build to a driving chorus, peppered with melodic attempts at soul-searching in the verses, is a decent (if straightforward) song writing template, but it gets a bit tired when it is rolled out for three songs in a row.
10 Feet Tall whips along with a brisker pace and sports the catchiest melody on the EP, but it still struggles to do anything original or leave anything memorable impressions.
The problem could be that ‘JS1’ doesn’t really have its own distinct voice. There are some tight and finely honed instrumentals, and frontman John Maher has a fine strong voice with a touch of Jon Bon Jovi to it, but something is still lacking. None of the tracks here are strong enough to grab the listener by the ears and convince them that Jaded Sun have something new to offer, at least not to the same extent that their album ‘Gypsy Trip’ did back in 2008. Knowing that Jaded Sun can (and have) done better, ‘JS1’ seems to be filling space rather than breaking new ground.