Though the Jazz June were often thought of by press people as a low-key prog group, these days they look like Band of Horses and sound like the Midwest’s answer to Pinback. After releasing some five or so albums at the start of the millennium, the group soon went on hiatus in 2003, returning only for the occasional one-off show. The Scars to Prove It is a CD/DVD combo that is mainly a tribute to a good band friend who was diagnosed with having a brain tumor, leaving the band to assemble a charity show for him at the start of 2007. What’s unfortunate, however, is that though there’s no denying the band’s talent, they have a real knack for covering a lot of the same musical ground time and time again, often coming across like a good college-rock band who write hooks that are servicable but not extraordinary. They perpetually feel like they’re just one song away from writing that instant pop-rock classic, which is something they do at the end of their set when they unleash the one-two knockout punch of “At the Artist’s Leisure” and “When the Drums Kick In”. The CD portion is a smattering of rarities, live recordings and radio sessions. Best of all is the inclusion of their 2005 Passed Out on the Studio Floor EP, featuring such delicious rock numbers like “Sputnik - 1957” and the very Pinback-affected “Lower East Side”. The live material is so-so (the live DVD is a much better foray for them), but when you see that all of this is going to a very good cause, it’s really hard to come down too hard on the band’s weaknesses. It’s not the greatest disc you’ll ever buy in your life, but when the hits outweigh the misses, it really doesn’t matter that much in the long run.
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// Notes from the Road
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