Jaill

Traps

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    7
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Two years passed between Jaill's self-titled Sub Pop debut and their follow-up, 2012's Traps, and while not a complete retread, the album is a lot like the first. Their sound still consists of sunny power pop melodies filtered through indie grit. Filled with dusty tube amps and spring reverbs like before, Traps is far from slick, but the lines are a bit cleaner than they were on the debut, and some of the Harlem-style garage pep has been dialed down in favor of a tighter and better-focused attack. There's a hint of maturity found on later Shins and Sloan albums, but while Jaill sound a bit more cautious on their second LP, they're also digging into their craft and making the most of their tunefulness. The songwriting of Kircher and Dutmer takes a front seat on Traps; the pop melodies are never quite as straight-up bubblegum as "She's My Baby" was, but '60s-influenced jangle and hefty hooks are still the driving force on leadoff tracks "Waste a Lot of Things" and "Everyone's a Bitch." Meanwhile, the angular chord progression and glam groove of "Perfect Ten" make it clear that this is a band that not only knows how to write songs, but has gotten better at making them work. With softer edges, a fuller sound, and some clever detours that don't take them too far away from the Jaill sound, it's a good showing that proves they are too consistent to fall into a sophomore slump.

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