January 11, 2020

Jawbox - Grippe (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Punk Rock
Label Number: Dischord 52

© 1991 Dischord Records
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
Essentially recorded after getting enough songs together to fill out a 12" chunk of vinyl, Grippe's achievement was obscured increasingly after each successive Jawbox LP. That doesn't prevent it from being an enjoyable, albeit introspectively brutal record. J. Robbins might address a "you" during "Paint Out the Light" and "Tools and Chrome," but a self-flagellating nature can be detected throughout. That's what initially separated the band from their post-hardcore peers; instead of railing against authority and other oppressors, Jawbox pointed the finger at themselves. Musically it's their least distinct, marrying the earlier crunchy side of Joy Division with Throb Throb-era Naked Raygun. It's a pretty convincing synthesis, pulled off well by relative newcomers Kim Coletta (bass) and Adam Wade (drums), who sound well-honed enough for Robbins' effective Chicago-derived (NR, Effigies, etc.) guitar. Though most of the record doesn't require a skip button, the true highlight is a cover of Joy Division's "Something Must Break." Where Ian Curtis sounded typically cold and detached on the original, Robbins gradually boils over with each successive verse, draining any possible emotion from the song. As far as taking a song to another level, it rivals Hüsker Dü's explosive cover of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High." Overall, a promising debut. [The CD version added the band's debut 7" EP, featuring two early versions of Grippe songs and another rackety self-browbeater, "Twister."]

tags: jawbox, grippe, 1991, flac,