Somewhere back in the mists of time, a hunter-gatherer hummed a melody and within moments, his/her companions began imitating and adapting the tune, rhythm, and style, refining and altering them in new directions. And so music has evolved ever since, as generation after generation built on their predecessor's work, encompassing shifts both subtle and dramatic. Thus everything now is new and old simultaneously, and never more so than in our contemporary climes, as bands revisit the past and resurrect it in fabulous new shades of sound. Jonezetta may hail from the South, and although they rock, they certainly are not Southern rockers. Instead they're beholden to the big rock sound of the '80s, post-punk/new wave, and the newer wave of pillagers of the past like Franz Ferdinand. Jonezetta's first single "Get Ready (Hot Machete)" is a particularly clever combination of seemingly incompatible elements and genres. There's a touch of disco to the beats, an almost goth edge to the middle break, a new romantic shimmer around the bubbly intro and outro, all wrapped around a powerful bassline and striking guitar leads that swagger rock style, but burn in punk rock fashion. By the time this song's over, everybody's gonna be ready for the party this number celebrates. Coming from a new generation, Jonezetta find nothing odd in taking rock into disco, and Popularity is dedicated to doing precisely that. Be it in anthemic fist-in-the-air fashion on the otherwise new romantic-styled "Backstabber," or in the kick-ass style of the title track, which fabulously flip-flops between incendiary rocker and groovy new waver; dance beats power this set.
The band can pull off these stunning genre shifts because, for all their stylistic changes, their melodies are so powerful, their choruses so infectious that they easily surf across any genre. No matter how they're served up, the sound is huge, and although dense, the phenomenal production prevents the arrangements from sounding cluttered. The dynamics are equally notable in their understatement, never calling too much attention to the crescendos or drop-offs, enhancing the band's big rock feel, but not at the expense of the flow of the song and set. But most important, the album is awash in winning numbers, from the breezy "The Love That Carries Me," through the wonderful guitar and vocal harmonics of "Bringin' It Back," across the majestic heights of "Burn It Down!," and on to the storming, stomping "Man in a 3K Suit." There isn't a song on it that you'll want to skip, each one offers new delights, and twinned with equally potent lyrics, Jonezetta's Popularity is insured. One of the most powerful debuts you'll hear this year.