"Indie Rock with blurred edges" might be how Junior Revolution describes their sound, but I'm head-scratching here. Think of Cake, the band. When you listen to those puppies, you might jam along, or you might laugh your ass off, hearing lyrics about "the land where large, fuzzy dice still hang proudly like testicles from rear-view mirrors."
Now, JR isn't nearly as quirked-out as Cake, but they're still hard to label. One thing is clear: They're damn driven, and one might hear echoes of Jimmy Eat World. But their influences range from the Foo Fighters to the wild, improvisational sound of The Mars Volta.
Curly-headed Jayson Hazelbaker (vocals, guitar) explains: "Back in the day, bands didn't worry about sounds as much as they do now with genres and everything," he says. "A lot of the stuff I like is jumbled a little bit."
Wearing a retro V-neck shirt, Dan Erb (vocals, guitar, piano) talks slowly and seriously: "Sometimes we get paired up with ¨scream' bands. We have a hard enough sound to get by, but people are caught off guard because none of us scream.
And we have vocal harmonies."
He laughs and adds, "We steal fans."
Drummer Chris Denholm focuses on business. Highly passionate and talkative, he sits on his seat's edge. He states, "If the songs are good, that's all that matters."
Bassist Brian Miller is M.I.A. Word is that he and Hazelbaker write the bare bones of songs together, bringing them back to the rest, making it all gel.
The 2007 CD, It's a Process, was recorded inside the top of a 150-foot-tall Cleveland water tower, a location that created their trademark "cavernous drum lines," according to JR, giving life to their three-part harmonies and "organ-like guitar tones."
"The City That Never Wakes" begins with two vocal lines, leading into a startlingly unique drum arrangement. Creatively leaking parts, sounding fuller as it progresses, this tune fully shows the band's skill and artistry.
Denholm says, "It's a little bit of show and tell, Brian and Jayson writing songs and us adding sprinkles to it."
Erb shrugs. "I've never written music like this."
Overall, the songs give the feel of live jamming, but it's matched with Indie-style electronic recordings, such as a joke voice mail message from "Dave Matthews" involving sleeping with his violinist.
In March 2008, JR will begin touring again.
Of the road, Denholm says, "I like meeting new people all the time, but people don't realize all of the work involved. You sleep in corners."
Hazelbaker says, "It's very team oriented being with these guys every day and feeling like I'm part of something."
Then Erb says it all: "Don't think we don't have fun. Playing is like lunch. Then it's over, and the work is never-ending. You have to get on the computer for seven hours again. But you either want to do it or you don't. Even if you halfway want to do it, you won't. Everything gets pushed to the wayside — even personal relationships. You just hope you don't lose that."
JUNIOR REVOLUTION (myspace.com/juniorrevolution) plays The Basement in Columbus with Manchester Orchestra Wednesday. They're back at the Mad Hatter in Covington Feb. 22.