Efrem Czajkowski, Wren Krisztin, and Aaron Batley (aka The Janes)—have been together since 2016. The Corruption of What Cheer?, their new full length, is a culmination of their creativity and hard work over these last two tumultuous years.
In 2020 they released the single Pink Liquor/Respect, recorded in 2018. Both tracks have found their way onto their new full length LP in fresh forms. “Pink Liquor” is the perfect leadoff track, demonstrating much of what makes the band so compelling and unique. An ominous song, the swirling guitars and synths coupled with sharp percussion involve a dark carnival atmosphere. There are many interlocking parts here that fit a lot of complexity into only 4 and a half minutes.
This sets the listener up for much of what they can expect through most of the record, although there are quieter moments as well (the re-recorded “Respect”) and some songs with a genuinely danceable beat (“Can You Ever.”) The Janes make great use of their harmonized vocals, especially on songs like “Miscommunication Department.” Sometimes the vocals are very present in the mix, at other times moved into the background for a truly 3D quality.
Jane Doe Ensemble (photo by Kate Hoos)
Multi-instrumentalist experimental music can easily go in the direction of jam band meanderings. (Which isn’t to put down jam bands, but it’s nice to know if that’s coming or not.) Yet even on the longest track “What is Left is Also What is Right,” which flirts with jamminess, the music seems to be moving towards a deliberate destination.
The Corruption of What Cheer? truly feels like a collaborative effort, and it’s easy to tell the members are having fun even while they take their craft seriously. According to the band, the album was the result of “enthusiastic, zealous single-day recording followed by months of loving, careful bedroom mixing” and it shows.
Watch their latest video here and see several more on the band’s YouTube, or you can look them up on Instagram and Twitter. Jane Doe Ensemble are a compelling live act and they will be at Pete’s Candy Store on September 3rd and Hart Bar on September 10th.