From the opening note of Jail Weddings' Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion, something about the record feels different. The maniacal twang of Gabriel Hart's emotive singing and the uncomplicated dive right into the record—no hesitations, no fear—is unfamiliar and raw. The subject in question on the record is part anxiety, part breakdown, and part internal search for meaning, but there's nary a moment where those questions are asked with meakness. Every track pulses with a country-western twang that is enhanced by the mawping baritone of Hart's vocals as they move alongside his female counterparts and mid-range piano chords. The confidence in the record is postively addictive to hear (and is rare these days), as every genre of music dabbled into—from the highly cinematic, almost Broadway-musical-style ballads to the songs that could fit right in on a journey for gold out West—feels stronger than the last. Meltdown is a structurally powerful record, one that never slows down or feels boring, and with each track, the emphasis begins to shit from the word “meltdown” to “declaration.” No matter what genre or angle the band is taking, it is done so with declarative force, and it's no wonder that the 8 members of Jail Weddings feel necessary. The act is performative and broad-ranging and smart about how to make a complete start-to-finish album. Hart's vocals, the certain highlight, only stand out as a complement to the rest of the sound, which never breaks its horse-trotting stride.
You can stream the full record below, which releases on Neurotic Yell Records today, and then catch Jail Weddings on tour at the three dates at the bottom of the embed.
25 – The Casbah, San Diego, CA
26 – The Echo, Los Angeles, CA
27 – Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa, CA