Emo, an offshoot of the pop punk movement of the late 90's/early 00's, seems to have come and gone without much of a fuss. There was a run of bands like JIMMY EAT WORLD, SOMETHING CORPORATE, and STRAYLIGHT RUN that combined some of the punk reliance on simple chord progressions with a more confessional, heart-on-your-sleeve writing approach. The one thing about the emo bands was that by and large the records sounded great and played well in the car.
With the release of their new ep, "Bystander", Canadian collective JETS OVERHEAD, continue to keep the emo tradition alive. A collection of leftovers from their last record, the five tracks do hold up well as a whole body of work. The title track has all the driving force of a great rock song which is tempered a bit by the more acoustic musings on "Destroy You." The bands stretches itself a bit with "It's Not Up To Me" which reminds me a bit of vintage RIDE in their use of bass and feedback guitar. "Friendly Fire" continues to explore new ways to fine tune their sound with a pretty little guitar line opening the instrumental groove as the vocals float in and out in an almost inaudible haze. The remix of "Full Shed" from the last record has a nice keyboard line and allows the vocals of Adam Kittridge and Antonia Freybe-Smith to become more center than on the original. Again RIDE and the other shoegazer bands have a firm influence here. The acoustic version of "Bystander" is a throwaway and should have been left off.
This is not a record that will redefine a genre but is certainly enjoyable and will almost certainly sound better driving down the freeway.