Jaill — Traps

Band: Jaill
Album: Traps
Release Date: June 12, 2012

What Jaill did on Traps I did not expect by the band that only two years ago released an album as restless as That’s How We Burn. They slashed the energy (the manic drums, certainly!) and sloooowed down.

Remember all that weed they sang about? Well they smoked it, surely, then waited an hour or so, and then began writing Traps.

There are people out there, I’m sure, who staunchly believe that “Everyone’s Hip” and “How’s the Grave” are the best things on That’s How We Burn. I’d put myself in that camp, anyway. With that said, Traps made for a difficult first listen. It was a squandered effort on my end, really, as I waited and waited for tunes as buoyant as “Everyone’s Hip”/How’s the Grave” (“She’s My Baby,” even) only to learn they’d been omitted.

So I approached New Jaill in a different way because over the past two years or so I’ve come to like these guys. A lot, actually. The next few spins, I focused on what Jaill might be saying on Traps, and promptly realized its despair.

Its first three tracks, you see, however backhanded or no, include candid thoughts on death and dying. You know, the extreme end of the morbidity spectrum. “I’m Home,” the fifth track, has Vincent spitting out things like “I thought going crazy would be much more fun” before the tune completes itself with about a minute of easy jam. Heavy stuff.

Lyrically, Traps is a more mature album than I’m used to hearing from these guys. It’s a part of growing up, I guess. You have new things and circumstances to experience and make music about.

Yet with these changes, New Jaill seems to sacrifice their brand of exuberant edge, sonically speaking, for the sake of, perhaps, more meaningful written material. Try as I might, I can’t seem to get Traps to turn over. The collection, again sonically, seems to linger in a kind of safe area. It’s more fixed; more calculated. I simply found That’s How We Burn more interesting.

My analogy is this: slip That’s How We Burn Jaill a piece of paper with instructions to break it in two, and That’s How We Burn Jaill would have tore it. Hand Traps Jaill a piece of paper with the same instructions, and Traps Jaill would pull out a pair of scissors and cleanly cut it.

“Stone Froze Mascot,” the lead-out track on Traps, does a curious thing. To me it seems like a kind of commentary by Traps Jaill on That’s How We Burn Jaill. It’s got the sprightly guitar you might remember from “Baby I,” but remains grounded in the slow funk permeating through Traps:

And, why not, my favorite off That’s How We Burn:


  • The Milwaukee-based Jaill is Vinnie Kircher, Andy Harris and Austin Dutmer. | Facebook
  • Subpop is offering free streams of Traps. | Soundcloud
  • Pre-order Traps for $12 (cd) or $15 (lp). | Subpop
  • Jaill’s in town on National Traps Release Day! In-store show at Reckless (1532 N. Milkwaukee). | Event Info

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
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