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I'm Scared

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Album Review

Following in the vein of the earlier songs on No Fish Shop Parking, but with hints of trying different approaches and styles in terms of production, Jacob's Mouse kicked up more aggro indie rock smoke, late-'80s/early-'90s style, on I'm Scared. There's an almost brittle edge to much of the songs, with the guitars sounding a little less full-bodied and more sharp and knife-edge, with a new emphasis on treble. It's a touch reminiscent of similarly minded types Therapy?, but with less overt poppiness or nods to dance culture. There's nods to everything from screwy acoustic blues and folk via '90s sensibilities ("Deep Canvas Lake," "Body Shop") to epic, melancholy rock Neil Young could be proud of ("It's a Thin Sound," with its cascading guitar figure and verses). If the effect is mostly that of talented folks casting around to see what happens, the results are usually most fun. The hints of groove appreciation via the Gang of Four that turned up on the Ton-Up EP, included as a bonus with the American version of I'm Scared, have their parallels here, thus the woozy, disoriented dub-plus-feedback approach of "This Room" or "Solo." It's the sign of a band already stretching beyond its predetermined limits and, for the most part, getting away with it, all the while not forgetting to rock ("Solo," in particular, hits that peak especially well on the choruses). Then there's the great "Coalmine Dig," which manages the neat trick of sounding like War's funk classic "Lowrider" while not actually being it or simply ripping it off. Contemporary Fugazi should be so ass-shaking, frankly. The Ton-Up tracks themselves include the most Nirvana-like thing the band ever did — "Oblong," which actually sounds more like a quieter song from that other trio that never in fact explodes.

Biography

Formed: Edmunds, Suffolk, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

At the age of 11 identical twins Hugo (guitar) and Jebb (bass) Boothby met Sam Marsh (vocals, drums) at a swimming competition, when all three boys were wearing heavy metal band T-shirts. The band was formed and they soon graduated from Status Quo cover versions to writing their own material, drawing their primary influence from the noisier acts appearing on UK disc jockey John Peel’s radio show (Peel later sponsored the band’s career, and became a close neighbour of theirs in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk,...
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I'm Scared, Jacob's Mouse
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