The Jealous Sound – A Gentle Reminder

At the bottom of The Jealous Sound’s new website (scratch that — brand new, with lots of coming-soon/under-construction caution tape) is the line: “a second chance rarely comes along.”

For a band that released one great LP, way back in 2003, truer words are rarely spoken. A nine-year hiatus is fine when you’re an established act; reunion tours generate their own publicity and the hyperbolic hyphenate “long-awaited” gets carelessly thrown around all over the internet. But for these guys, who faded out before ever realizing on the promise of Kill Them With Kindness, the just-released A Gentle Reminder (2012, Music Is Subjective) truly is a second chance.

The band traces its origins to UC Davis in the mid-90’s (not coincidentally, the same birthplace for my love of this much-maligned offshoot of punk rock), and Blair Shehan’s band Knapsack. They became The Jealous Sound in 2000 after moving to Los Angeles, and released their first EP right as “emo” started to become a bad word. Even Pitchfork, back in its ultra-pretentious days, acknowledged Kindness as “a solid set of rock songs that hovers somewhere between the professionalism of Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American and your favorite slice of homegrown emotion.”

It then remained to be seen if The Jealous Sound would, like Jimmy Eat World, overcompensate in an effort to distance themselves from the mainstream and lose themselves musically. Or maybe they would ride the wave of alternative-eyeliner hardcore and degenerate into Hot Topic popcorn like, say, Alkaline Trio. Maybe they would undergo a successful transformation into a grown-up indie band by following a Promise Ring/Maritime model. Or, they could just disappear…

This 2012 reappearance comes courtesy of Foo Fighters’ bassist Nate Mendel who, while assembling his own reunion tour for pioneering band Sunny Day Real Estate (they’ve gone through a few “long-awaited” follow-ups of their own), brought Blair Shehan and the gang back together to record this new album in the Foo Fighters’ personal studio. The polish is evident, but this record may as well have been recorded in 1997.

Check out the band’s first single, “Your Eyes Were Shining.” The song is a gentle reminder that, if you wait long enough, more of 1997 is exactly what you’d hoped for.