When you take a handful of talented and successful musicians and put them together, you get JJAMZ. The indie rock quintet features Maroon 5’s guitarist, James Valentine, Rilo Kiley’s drummer, Jason Boesel, The Like’s lead singer, Z Berg, Phantom Planet’s singer and guitarist, Alex Greenwald, and solo artist Michael Runion. This band of friends is teeming with fresh ideas from acts across the board. Each artist brings their own style to the table, and it was melded creating the band’s unique sound. Their debut album, Suicide Pact, was released this summer. Judging by the disc’s title, you are almost expecting a dark and brooding album of woes, though it’s quite the opposite. On the whole, it is lighthearted with thoughtfully written lyrics that young adults can closely relate to.
“Poolside” is such a well-executed ballad that has an even balance of being heavy and light. Z Berg’s vocals matched the emotion behind the lyrics and instruments were unwavering. The album’s single, “Heartbeat,” has a catchy melody with a thick and concise bass rhythm that coincidentally sounds like a heartbeat on the track. The upbeat tempo on “Cleverly Disguised” makes you want to get up and do that happy dance you only do when you are home alone. Runion joins Z Berg on vocals and they go together very well, without ever clashing with one another.
It’s almost a disappointment that the artists of this band have obligations with their other groups because I want to hear more from them. At the same token, knowing they are all a group of friends coming together to make good music comes through when listening to the disc. JJAMZ has a melting pot of sounds and is a refreshing take on indie rock.