Bands like Jealous Creatures make the resurrection of dark driving pop music possible, by tucking tunes into a kind of brooding atmosphere perfect for late-night loitering at cantinas along lonely highways. With a pedigreed pinch of song craft a la early Pretenders, combined with traces of moody and artful P.J. Harvey, they reclaim the almost déclassé genre of alternative rock and free it from inert, humdrum shoegazing clichés. Instead of producing aimless and airbrushed rock ’n’ roll, they offer up churning, unfussy, and highly rated fare.
On their debut album Little Heaven Big Sky, their most propulsive tunes like “Open Your Eyes sound awash in 1990s Steve Albini production: thickly mustered drums, crunchy and curdling guitars, and an overall heavy vibe that manifests shadowy unease. “I can’t play this game / Do what you have to do”, singer Sarah Hirsch intones, unleashing conceits festering like open wounds. “Such a Tease” unfurls at the same speed, evoking naivety and uncertainty in plaintive strokes reminiscent of the Breeders and Throwing Muses. “This behavior could get you top shelf”, the narrator muses in tough irony that makes a listener wince. The disgust is plain as day, but wrapped in nuggets of tunefulness.