When a band you’ve followed calls it quits, you at least are left with the satisfaction that you saw them grow and develop over the years. It’s inevitable that bands will split, and that’s just something you accept. It’s always disheartening, however, to know that a band has already broken up by the time you discover them. Even if they don’t become your favorite, there’s always a sense of “what could have been” that not even gathering their back catalog can alleviate. You won’t have the chance to listen to them change and see what they do next.
It’s this sorrow that permeates Jejune’s final release, the appropriately titled R.I.P. While the band may or may not have known they were breaking up during the recording of the songs here, a sense of longing and loss fills R.I.P. and this serves Jejune well on these songs of heartbreak and sensitivity.
Combining the thoughtful vocals of Joe Guerva and Arabella Harrison with stripped-down melodic guitars, Jejune shines on the bouncy “The New State” and the melancholy “That’s Why She Hates Me”. Even in its noisiest moments, there’s a quiet center to all of R.I.P. that gives the album a gentleness without making it timid.
Jejune is about what you’d expect in terms of their lyrics. While they do not contribute many new thoughts to their subject matter, they still maintain the same sort of subdued sadness that their music has when they can be understood. It’s not so much that they mumble through most of their lyrics, just that they seem secondary to the overall mood that they present. The focus isn’t on what they’re saying, but rather how it’s being said, and R.I.P. works on that level.
Jejune would never have become legendary or influential if they had stayed together, but listening to R.I.P. it’s easy to feel loss that this band will never go on tour, never make a video, never produce any more music together. Jejune may not have been great, but R.I.P. makes you miss a band you didn’t even know. Let’s hope they do rest in peace.
// Notes from the Road
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