on-air introduction by Chance Solem-Pfeifer
The Lincoln rock trio Handsomer Jaws recorded their five-song debut EP back in January at StudioPH, but our first recorded taste at this point is only the song “Ellen.” So let’s step into a brief introduction to their ideas with that song.
I think it’s a single that confirms what I wrote about Handsomer Jaws in the wake of their Lincoln Exposed set in February. “Ellen” is a measure of semi-messy rock ‘n’ roll, singing about some completely singular nightlife experience. A somewhat twisted, three-verse song about forgotten identity and a fly-on-the-wall-turned-life-of-the-party story. And this is told almost in passing on the way to a chorus that’s all about what havoc we could wreak tonight.
And that’s par for the course with these early Handsomer Jaws songs; it’s worth note they’ve only been a band about a year. Theirs are songs that don’t really down their hands at all lyrically, but confess a lot in singer Andrew Nelson’s smooth, but sometimes anguished, voice, the big hits of Josh Kornbluh on the drums and Sam Eschliman on the bass.
And it’s actually Eschliman’s sweeter, higher backup vocals that might tell the tale to the crowd, creating a come-along-with-us pop balance that you could recognize anywhere in recent pop history from Elvis to Miley Cyrus. Yes, this is the lead singer Nelson’s weird, uncomfortable story to sing, but the doo-wops and the guitar chords share in it and tell us we should, as well.
Now, there is some semblance of the roots rock to which Nelson’s old band Fraternal Durango was married on songs like “Mama Told Me.” But ultimately the kind of rock ‘n’ roll Handsomer Jaws undertakes is skeezier, more British and the only time it’d make you think of the outdoors is maybe being kicked out of a dark bar some time in the hour before close. And you might know Josh Kornbluh from his drumming work in Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band and The Crayons, but Handsomer Jaws finds him, like all the members, with more responsibility, one hinge in an equilateral triangle.
You can see them on April 29 at the Haymarket Theatre in collaboration Red Theater. But right now they join us live on Hear Nebraska FM. Here is Handsomer Jaws.
Chance Solem-Pfeifer is the host of Hear Nebraska FM. Join him and Jacob Zlomke Mondays at 8 p.m. on KZUM. And reach Chance at firstname.lastname@example.org.