Asthmatic Kitty Records

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Jookabox

Ropechain

Catalog: AKR051 • Cover Art: Moose Adamson and David Stith
Release date: November 4, 2008
  • CD $$10.00
  • LP $$12.00

Recognizing the presence of a particularly assertive muse, David Adamson cancelled a weekend of shows to sit at home in a dank basement, writing and recording a string of songs that seemed to arise spontaneously. Granting them his full attention, a week of intense composition and arrangement bore Grampall Jookaboxs second album: Ropechain.


After the ominous, trembling, synthetically angelic choral intro on the first track of Ropechain, Jookabox breaks in with a vision that sounds like a bizarre hybrid of a P Diddy rap video and ancient cosmology; Black girls walk on tips of mountains/ Black girls jump seas like they was fountainsBlack girls build skyscrapers with their brains/ Black girls do shit that I cant explain/ But, Black girl wont you do it again? / Black girls are built to walk across the seas/ Black girls convince the icecaps to freeze/ A black girl was the mamamama of everyone you see.

One of Ropechains themes is the paranormal. Says Adamson,I was interested in paranormal experiences, because I guess I was having them or something? I dont know. Definitely some weird shit was happening. Listeners may be inclined to agree. On the albums third cut, Ghost, dirge-like vocals evoke Casper keening through an old time radio about the simultaneous omniscience and heartbreaking tunnel-vision of the dead in soft, helium-pitched whispers. Jookabox sings: Your limbs go sweeping through my room at night/ I can see your purple body swell and fall/swell and fall/swell and fall. Ghost is followed by a knee-slapping sing-along about a pregnancy scare turned lamentation (The Girl Aint Preggers). Despite the albums dizzying musical and thematic eclecticism, there’s a mysterious logic to its arrangement (or perhaps it’s simply a paranoid interpretation of irrational datum).

Madness is another of the albums unifying thematic threads; Some of the samples on ‘Im Absolutely Freaked Out’ were recorded in a vacant insane asylum, Adamson explains. “I Will Save Young Michael,” Jookaboxs tragically affectionate love-letter to Michael Jackson, ponders the razor-fine boundary between aesthetic illumination and neurotic burnout. On Lets Go Mad Together he sings: Lets accept madness together / I need a partner in crime / I am too weary to fight it, honey /And it could be a good time.

The idiosyncratic lyricism of the albums love songs is sure to warm the cockles of listeners hearts. When echoing vocals ascend after the darkly, bass-heavy intro to “You Will Love My Boom” and Jookabox shouts, I love you love you/ You know I love you I love you/ I took mushrooms and then proposed to you because I love you love you, it’s a hard-hearted listener who wont laugh with joy at the dissonance between the tender lyrics and the dread-heavy distortion of their accompaniment.

Ropechainbraids holy fear, schizophrenic inspiration, baroque pop-references, and deep, mystical love into a formidable work likely to leave aficionadosof rock-n-roll trapped in an obsessive cycle of listening and re-listening. Get your tickets here.