Released on SoundCloud in July, South Philly DIY cats JANK return with fun-sized EP “Versace Summer.” Totaling just over 20 minutes, the perceived ideal behind the record is short, sweet, and high-energy. Matt Diamond’s toasty tone is unmistakable, not enduring substantial change since the release of “Awkward Pop Songs” earlier this year, paired with tight composition and seemingly seamless transitions which set JANK’s sound apart from most in the Stoner Pop genre.
The record starts you off with a happy kick to the teeth presented in the form of “Grim Reefer,” which boasts one of the filthiest outros I’ve heard this year. Diamond’s harmonies (and the raw vocal production in general) stand out in true form on this track, as well as drummer Sam Becht’s (#freesam bois) virgin-tight fill work.
Metrics for “Versace Summer” (at least since the last time I checked them) show track #2 “Chunks (Cool Enuff)” as the popular favorite, and it’s not hard to eschew why. It may be physically impossible to not dance to this track. “Chunks” showcases JANK’s uncanny ability to write abstract yet catchy-as-hell hooks, proving the music much more dense than it first appears.
My personal favorite off the record is no-brakes-hype-train track “Alligator,” featured in the group’s Little Elephant session last year. “Alligator” boasts a bangin’ intro that will rope you into the unique (in comparison to the rest of the record) attitude of the track. But the keynote moment in the track is assuredly a DIRTY 6/8 transition at the 1:48 mark. The energy is unmistakable, and solidifies “Alligator” as, in my opinion, the best track on the record.
My complaints of “Versace Summer” are very limited. Firstly, the drum mix is very tight, so much so that the decay of Becht’s cymbals, save for the hi-hat, is almost instantaneous. While tight mixes are definitely a staple in the group’s sound, many of the breakdowns could have sounded much more booming with a little more input from the overhead mics. My only other gripe is that I definitely feel some of the musical ideas and motifs presented on the record could have been explored more thoroughly, namely the uniquely reverberant atmosphere created at the end of track #3 “General Tso What.” This complaint is very tentative, as it implies a desire for longer tracks, which seems to contradict with the philosophy of the record.
“Versace Summer” will knock your socks no matter what time time of year. And as I’m writing this review, peeping pictures from their just-finished US tour, I can’t help but get excited with what JANK will do next.
If you wanna buy “Versace Summer,” do it on Bandcamp so these cats get more money for their efforts. Support your local scene, and #freesam.