Upset The Rhythm presents…
Thursday 25 October
The Victoria, 451 Queensbridge Rd, Dalston, London, E8 3AS
7.30pm | £7 | https://www.wegottickets.com/event/441850
JO PASSED sound like a messed-up Beatles, one where Lennon & McCartney reunite in a parallel 1980’s having discovered Can, Neu! and Sonic Youth. The band’s new album on Sub Pop, ‘Their Prime’, demonstrates the band’s timeless knack for dreamy melodies – chord progressions that sound like they were created in a land far, far away. Lyrically, however, it’s imbued with a philosophical longing for answers to questions that have resurfaced for the first time since the explosion of counterculture. Frontman Jo Hirabayashi is crucially aware of the world around him crumbling, yet he’s not lost sight of his sense of fun. His approach to the album was to create a collage record of everything he’s inspired by. The last track ‘Places Please’ is his attempt to make Grouper dine out with Frank Ocean, whereas ‘Undemo’ enquires about Leonard Cohen joining This Heat. Jo, along with his friend and drummer Mac Lawrie, moved across the country from Vancouver to Montreal and back again. The two would play shows in Montreal and eventually tour the far right corner of North America. Upon Jo’s return to the west coast, multi-instrumentalist Bella Bébé officially joined the band in January of 2016, expanding Jo Passed from trio to a full quartet. Multimedia artist Megan-Magdalena Bourne began working with Jo Passed on a video project for the song ‘Rage’ (from the Out EP). This creative partnership would eventually lead to her taking on the role of bassist for the band.
‘Their Prime’ is a record about identity and the loss of time that happens as a direct consequence of being in the city with nowhere to rent, no time outside of employment and no realistic expectations to live up to. It encompasses that fear of being beyond the glory years, the most creatively fruitful period of one’s life. Those years were lost to contemporary struggles for working relationships, home, identity and space. “It’s me owning my worst nightmare,” he admits. “A lot of the Jo Passed project has been about confronting fears. I was afraid to move away from Vancouver to Montreal on my own. Afraid to leave musical relationships I had. Afraid to bare the full responsibility of a project. I’ve been putting out records and not ones anyone’s necessarily heard. Being open about those fears is a good way of dealing with them.” You can hear the frustrations and the jitters in the crashing loud-and-quiet motifs throughout the album’s twelve tracks, which offer up a patchwork quilt of sound, similar to Faust’s ‘IV’ or ‘Red Medicine’ by Fugazi.