Picture a band with mixed characteristics; one with a sound that is not entirely rock, nor entirely reggae. A band with a sound that instead falls into the category of surf rock, or if you will, "American Reggae," with similar artists such as Sublime, Citizen Cope, Jack Johnson, and Donovan Frankenreiter. That band you're picturing is Jake Paul Band and the album is The Jailbreak. The band's reggae sounds bring a sunny warmth to the overall album, even though oftentimes heavy, less than cheery subjects are addressed. Front man and band kick-starter Jake Paul's vocals fall somewhere between singing, spoken word, and rapping, which accentuates the music perfectly. He also brings his harmonica out from time to time, lending a further accent to the music.
Paul has a unique reason for forming the band and beginning his music career. In the 1990's his mother was killed; unfortunately, the case has still not been solved. In honor of his mother, he set out to spread his story through the form of music. His first venture was with the track "Hollow," which is included twice on the album - once as the original and the other as a home studio remix. Regardless of which track you listen to you will be blown away by the brutal honesty of the lyrics. The story is told in third person, describing his mother's death and how he was affected by it, reminding listeners to "Remember to say goodbye, 'cause you're never too young to die." The sincerity of the lyrics, especially when Paul describes the moment he was given the news, further outlines how genuine the track really is. This sense of honesty follows the band through the entirety of their album, whether he is tackling everyday troubles or covering how to overcome those difficulties.
"Scarecrow" comes next on The Jailbreak. The cleverness of the track is what makes it stand out. Paul sings, "You know, a wildflower cannot grow stuck in the shadows of a wounded soul," cleverly explaining how he'll stick around acting as this person's scarecrow until every last demon has been chased away. It takes a drastic turn in tempo at the very end, transforming into something you would assume to hear on a punk record and not this one. This facet seems to be a onetime deal, though, since it pops up nowhere else on the album. "Keep Your Demons," found a few tracks deeper into the album, covers the topic of demons once again, though this time Paul writes on a more personal level. Although it is the shortest track on the album he has no trouble with getting his words out and point across.
"My Side of the Street" is one of the few more lighthearted tracks, and its lightheartedness is reflected in its upbeat melody. Paul sings about how sunny life can be when things begin to go your way and a new relationship blossoms. "In the End" is hands down the most uplifting song. They don't go overboard with lyrics; just enough are supplied, telling you that in the end, everything will eventually go as planned. An equal portion of the song is handed over to the instruments, letting them do the talking. A short solo to introduce the track and an impressive mid-song solo by lead guitarist Chad Layton are featured.
Everything about The Jailbreak has an organic nature to it, from the vocals to the instruments. Nothing is too overproduced, and you get the sense this mood was orchestrated on purpose in order to faultlessly portray the relaxed atmosphere they were intending. These are guys you would want to invite to a party of your own just so you could get to know them and be able to sit back and watch them play.
Artist: Jake Paul Band
Album: The Jailbreak
Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)