Staten Island’s favorite trio, Jigsaw Youth, have been making music and mischief together since they were teenagers. Though longtime favorites of ours, their latest release, the two song EP Are You Who You Wanna Be? makes it clear they are just now embarking on the first steps of a much larger journey together, one whose destination is determined only by how far they choose to go. It’s no surprise in the last year, they got scooped up to go on national tours and have played sold sold-out shows with the likes of Destroy Boys, Sasami, Foxy Shazam, and Wargasm. I’ve spent some time in the trenches with this fierce group over the years—we’ve shared the stage and I’ve moshed in their pits. Maria Alvarez (bass/vocals), Nastacha Beck (guitar/vocals) and Alex Dmytrow (drums) sweat and hustle their asses off for every bit of every thing they do, and it shows.
Oh, and they write killer songs. I’m a sucker for a good side A/side B, and their new single release swings the pendulum hard in both directions. “I Cud Crash & Burn” has a poised restraint that we don’t often hear from Jigsaw Youth. It’s like laying asphalt and smoothing gravel over a layer of 90s fuzz. It’s dismissively gratifying in its delivery that never quite breaks out, but instead lures you in with a satisfying melodic growl that Brody Dalle would be proud of. The titular “Are You Who You Wanna Be?” is closer to the unyielding sonic barrage we’ve come to expect from the band and in it they unleash an onslaught of slithering vocals and guitar lines—Alvarez and Beck ducking and weaving between Dmytrow’s thunderous fills and pounding stagger beat.
Jigsaw Youth (photo by Kate Hoos)
The release strikes a great balance for a band whose scales seem tipped toward fortune. And though their future may be unwritten, it’s clear these Staten Island punks are just getting warmed up and are on the precipice of some big things to come.
Are You Who You Wanna Be? is out now on all major streaming platforms. Keep up with the band on their Instagram.