South London alt-indie rockers, JSA, are back with a new EP, Fools Empire, after their 2019 release Ghosts. Let's be clear here, they brought the sauce. The three track EP starts with the track ‘Fools Empire’ and this really sets the tone for what is to come throughout the rest of the EP. The driving drums and bass are a constant theme throughout the EP and help carry on a feel of cruising down an open highway, driving much faster than is necessarily recommended. This feeling is brought further into effect with the chorus and the raucous guitars that blister through your headphones. This is offset drastically in the verse with the warble effect on the guitar which provides a refreshing juxtaposition of calm to the angst being spat in your face throughout the rest of the track.
The EP proceeds with the track ‘Orange Juice’, a musically and rhythmically interesting tune utilising displacement to create a sense of unexpectedness. This track is a standout as it feels as though it is breaking the norm somewhat in what is expected from your normal indie track, while still holding key elements that create a familiarity throughout.
The EP concludes with the single released previously this year, ‘Down & Out’, a mid-2000’s feeling track, that feels like it would be right at home in a coming-of-age movie set in some American high school - you know the ones.
This whole EP feels as though it is a perfect blend of many artists that have come before them, while still breathing a breath of fresh air and adding a personal flair to the tracks, making them stand out further. The only issue to be found with this EP is that perhaps the structure of the tracks is very similar throughout, and some variation would be great to hear. However, it is a winning formula providing an arc of build-up, conflict and resolution that lets the songs flow naturally from section to section, allowing the tracks to evolve and tell their story. Overall, this is a solid EP and should be regarded as a triumph for alt-indie to come.
Fools Empire is released November 2nd via Undead Collective Records.