It's not uncommon for young bands to cram a bit too much into every song they write, in an effort to pay homage to all the artists that have influenced them. Feed Me Jack's sound might warrant descriptors like "scatterbrained" or "over the top," but not in a negative way. If anything, theirs is a gleeful and infectious insanity. The UC Santa Cruz act's hairpin turns in style and abrupt shifts in tempo are like a good rollercoaster ride—whipping the listener around just enough without ever becoming disorienting. When Glenn Carson, Sven Gamsky, Robert Ross and Jake Thornton jump from Tera Melos-esque math-rock, to jazz-metal explosions, to straight-up jazz and, finally, to bouncy pop or light ska upstrokes—as they do on their debut album, Chumpfrey—it all somehow makes sense.
Being able to pull it all off in spades likely has something to do with the fact that the majority of the bandmates are studying music at UCSC, where they all met. Their connection to the school also helped them flesh out Chumpfrey with a cast of equally talented music majors, who helped by adding extra percussion, woodwinds, strings and vocals. Although they clearly had a lot of fun genre-jumping on Chumpfrey, Ross says they are also working on paring back their musical palette on their forthcoming EP, set for release at the beginning of October. "I feel like we have definitely honed in on our sound a lot," says Ross (vocals/guitar). "We've just been trying to craft this thing that sounds less like anyone [else] and more like us." Thornton, the group's keyboardist, agrees. "I think it's an ongoing process," he says. "It's mostly just about coming up with something that we're all happy with.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.
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