Pause For The Jets
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  • Ohio indie rock institution Earwig return with Pause for the Jets, their first LP since 2010's dream-induced Gibson Under Mountain. As has often been the case with Lizard McGee's long-tenured outfit, Earwig's lineup has been completely refreshed and now includes his daughter James McGee-Moore on backing vocals, along with latter-day recruits Costa Hondroulis and Nicholas Nocera on bass and drums, respectively. While his personnel may ebb and flow, McGee's cerebral guitar rock remains a powerful force and he unleashes 12 dynamic new tracks here to sit atop his already-impressive canon. Rousing opener "Wisdom Teeth" is an early highlight made better by the addition of James' vocals and the sonic maelstrom of McGee's crushed guitar fury. The underlying layers of noisy guitar and synth textures are strewn throughout the album, often cross-fading from song to song or manifesting in semi-instrumental sections like the eerie "Medusa Head" with its weird, guttural Japanese spoken word bits. For longtime Earwig fans, Pause for the Jets will ultimately be a familiar trip. McGee's musical style remains rooted in the '90s indie where his journey began, and his high tenor vocals still sound vigorous and youthful. The Pixies-esque feedback squalls and jagged fuzz-toned guitars are a lot of fun, but he's at his best delivering big, soaring melodies like on "Holy Ghost Letter" or "Wasted on You," the latter of which features a nice duet vocal from fellow Columbus native Lydia Loveless. As a whole, Pause for the Jets feels subtly evolved from previous Earwig releases without breaking the mold and, considering how underappreciated they've remained over their first two decades, it could very well serve as their introduction to newfound fans. If so, it's a great place to begin. ~ Timothy Monger
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