“Jaws? Where have I seen that name before” you might be asking. Well, the Birmingham four-piece have effectively managed to push themselves to just outside of the mainstream indie scene, especially in the North of England. They’ve toured with the likes of Swim Deep, The Twang and Peace, as well as spots at a number of festivals including Leeds and Reading, and were tipped by The Guardian all the way back in 2012, the same year they officially formed. Their follow-up to their debut album Be Slowly, titled Simplicity, once again merges their unique blend of indie pop and alt rock to heights although reached on their debut, were never quite perfected. A sign of things to come? We certainly think so.
The Birmingham three piece’s self-released album is a more mature affair than Be Slowly. Frontman Connor Schofield has moved past the lost loves and regrets of his younger years and now turns his attentions to pressure and the resulting anxiety. The track 17 for example, as he cries “there’s a beast on my back… got his claws down my neck and I’m running out of breath”, is just one example of the huge developments Schofield has made with his song writing.
It’s never pure doom and gloom though, with Simplicity given life by a mix of floaty and fine picked guitars that stop the album getting too dark to still be deemed as an entertaining indie album. The production on Simplicity is one of its key successes, managing to stay intense without breaking away from the atmosphere Schofield’s voice has an uncanny power to create, as well as the refined song structures that trio now displays on every track of the album.
Stand out songs include What We Haven’t Got Yet, which would almost certainly make an appearance on a Skins season soundtrack if that show still aired (am I showing my age?) Right in Front of Me features a perfect drum and lead guitar riff combo, and manages to wrap it all up in a kind of spacey ethereal package. In contrast, In the Morning, feels like a doom rock epic with a nice hint of grunge thrown in for good measure. With the track hitting towards the end of the album it helps demonstrate just how many directions Jaws have taken with their signature sound, and are likely to continue to do so in the future.
Jaws have released Simplicity independently through their own label ‘Rattlepop’, so the success of the album will be heavily dependent on their ever-growing fan base. Luckily for them, this next installment in the bands catalogue more than sells itself. There’s still a lot of room for Jaws to develop and feels like another stepping stone on their journey to a perfectly evolved , yet still personal sound. What direction Jaws take next is difficult to say, but judging by the progress made in just two short years between their first and second album, we’re excited to have a listen.