Is there anyone not sick of post-punk? For the better part of a year now it’s been nothing but jagged riffs, trebbly guitars, and utilitarian rhythm sections. Gangs of Four’s early records have been recycled and rehashed, most recently by Gang of Four themselves. This is one revival in its last throes.
Probably not the best time to be flogging a new post-punk record then. Good thing the Joggers have made something else altogether. With a Cape and a Cane, out last week on StarTime International, eschews most of the genre’s rigid standards in favor of a more relaxed aesthetic. They share more in common with labelmates the French Kicks than they do with Bloc Party or the Futureheads; the Joggers play post-punk, but with a beating heart and a sense of the absurd.
“Era Prison” and “Apache Figurines” are probably Cape’s most immediate tracks, but there’s much to recommend about the whole thing. Singer Ben Whitesides’ deadpan Malkmus-y drawl and the Joggers’ noodly guitar work give even the less realized songs a sheen of casual likeability. Their best moments come when the band is at its most frenetic: There are parts of this record that sound like they might devolve into a Babyshambles rehearsal, if not for Jake Morris’ skilled drumming.
Over the course of With a Cape and a Cane’s 41 minutes, the Joggers’ expertly turn their weaknesses into their biggest strengths. In a genre defined by precision, they are messy, melodic, and appealingly imprecise.
The Joggers Tour Dates
10/7, Los Angeles, CA (Hanging Jury)10/8, Visalia, CA (Howie & Son’s Pizza)10/27, San Francisco, CA (Pop Scene)10/30, Austin, TX (Emo’s Alternative Lounging)*11/2, Tallahassee, FL (Club Downunder)*11/3, Gainesville, FL (Common Grounds)*11/4, Orlando, FL (Will’s Pub)*11/5, Atlanta, GA (The Earl)*11/6, Chapel Hill, NC (Wetlands Dance Hall)*11/7, Baltimore, MD (Ottobar)*11/8, New York, NY (Knitting Factory)*11/10, Allston, MA (Great Scott)*11/16, Lansing, MI (Mac’s Bar)*11/17, Chicago, IL (Schubas Tavern)*11/19, Minneapolis, MN (7th Street Entry)*11/20, Omaha, NE (O’Leaver’s Pub)*11/21, Lawrence, KS (Replay Lounge)*11/22, Denver, CO (Larimer Lounge)*11/23, Salt Lake City, UT (Kilby Court)*(*with GoGoGo Airheart)