The Indie/ alt-rock scene has had a long wait for the follow-up to JAWS’s 2014 debut album Be Slowly. Now, JAWS have returned with Simplicity. They may be without their original bassist, but their progress since has been immense considering they’re still a developing band. One thing to note is the effort that has been put into production and arrangement of the track list that pulls together Simplicity as a unified product.
“with Simplicity’s lyrics, there’s a greater sense of maturity”
JAWS has taken a heavier approach, hardened the previously soft vocals, used loud, grainy guitar riffs in addition to the clean dream pop sound that made Be Slowly and the Milkshake EP chill-out records to sing along to. JAWS’s iconic swell effects are still there and funkier than ever, although with Simplicity’s lyrics, there’s a greater sense of maturity. In ‘Right in front of me’ frontman Connor Schofield rejects the banal lifestyle of ‘the man who can’t feel a thing/ the one with the nice big house, the car/ the wedding ring’ whose greed has earned him material goods at the expense of an emotionally rich life. The instrumental track ‘Interlude’ is possibly my favourite. Its opening chords are reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti’s omniscient Theme for Twin Peaks whilst incorporating Eddy Geach’s drums and cymbals that crash like waves against the rocks. All this seamlessly segues into the upbeat ‘On the Sunshine’. To be critical, upon first listen, there were concerns this album felt unoriginal in its content. However, it is likely that anyone who listens enough will catch themselves joining in on the catchy chorus of ‘What We Haven’t Got Yet’, the song that introduces us to Simplicity’s darker side. ‘The Invisible Sleep’ is a finishing piece that, whilst sombre, also delivers a moment of frisson as it concludes.