By Colin Gallant
CALGARY — “I feel like touching somebody” are the first words you hear on J. Sherri’s wonderfully comical, still seriously musical debut SOFT SPOT. The phrase perfectly sets the tone for 37 minutes of fun and feelings.
Musically, the band relies on simple-but-effective synth hooks, classic new wave beats and charmingly amateur guitar riffs. It’s a playful, simple combination that’s always been a reliable means of producing pop music.
Making pop music sort of sets J. Sherri apart from the usual fair of Missoula. The city has a quiet reputation for being a cousin of the Pacific Northwest’s garage-rock and punk tendencies. Then again, the band sort of seems to fit in anywhere and everywhere.
Trying to explain where it all comes from or what, sonically, seals the deal for the band doesn’t get you far. To get the best possible understanding of J. Sherri, you really need to get a feel for their lyrical style.
In regards to their “TERMSNCONDITIONS” of love, the priorities are clear “number one most important thing on my list: shopping with the ladies, watchin’ other dudes strip.”
On “JEALOUSIE,” singer Lukas Phelan lists his 17 favourite qualities about himself before saying “look at me, I look good.”
But for all the raunch and pomp, it seems like J. Sherri might be using exaggeration as motivation. It’s as if they can talk themselves up high enough, it might actually come true. You can hear a sheepish kind of vulnerability in the delivery of the line “my definition of honesty is telling the truth. Truth is, I got some fuckin’ feelings for you.”
Sometimes humour is the easiest way to say how you really feel. Sometimes it’s a chance to try on a cooler, more assured you. Anyone who identifies with that idea should respond strongly to J. Sherri.
J. Sherri plays the Broken City patio on Friday, June 26th as part of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.
AB, Alberta, Broken City, j. sherri, Sled Island, Sled Island 2015