The Amber Jets
The Amber Jets
E Pluribus Unum, right. But hey, I understand, everyone craves a comparison or three, lest one waste 30 minutes listening to a kid in his bedroom who thinks that he's the entirety of Limp Bizkit. So, straight to the source: The Amber Jets assert that they sound like Dag Nasty, that they sound like The Doughboys, that they sound like Down By Law, that they sound like All. And, I concede, sometimes they DO, for 15 seconds or so. Then they revert back to sounding like no one but themselves.
They seemingly can't help it. Staten Island, famous bastion of culture and creativity, is where, years ago, the seeds of The Amber Jets were sown. I'm not going to bore you with an incestuous family tree of Staten Island bands, because truly boring it is. Let's just start with Sleeper, formed in the early 90's, who eventually became Serpico, due to a UK band of the same moniker looking to be the Next Mediocre Thing in the mid 90's. Serpico put out numerous 45's and full lengths, on Allied, Equal Vision and Excursion Records, to name a few.
They toured and toured and toured, playing everywhere from backyards and basements to CBGB's, ABC No Rio, Maxwell's, Gilman Street and Europe. Been there, done that, yawn. Serpico had always been a revolving door of musicians, and both John Telenko and Greg Swanson of The Amber Jets dutifully served their time in Serpico before the band just kind of shriveled up and died. Then, in 1997, along came Darien. They were a band of high school kids, guitarist Greg Swanson included, who, after putting out a self-released cassette of wonderfully solid, introspective songs, found themselves looking for a new lead singer.
They approached John Telenko, who was fresh out of Serpico, working in a record store. He agreed to give it a go, and in short order, everything coalesced. Darien's songs became both more poppy and more aggressive, and soon they were releasing a couple of 45's, one on local Struggle Records, the other on Allied. Over the years they've appeared on a multitude of compilations, and, like Serpico, have played twice on the long-standing punk venue of Pat Duncan's show on WFMU (91.1/ 90.1 FM- www.wfmu.org). Darien was a cohesive unit which kicked ass live, and they played all over the tri-state area, crisscrossing NY, NJ, CT and PA, making fans and converts along the way.
They gigged at well known area clubs, including Brownie's, the now defunct Coney Island High, Maxwell's, The Continental, the Coney Island Freak Show, The Infrared Lounge, Meow Mix and The BQE Lounge. They also played just about every club on Staten Island, backyard parties, New Jersey roller rinks, derelict bars in New Brunswick to an audience of five befuddled old men. Despite their under the radar status, and suffering from Bass Player of the Month Syndrome, Darien kept on going- not for recognition, not for gain, but because they loved what they were doing. Because they HAD TO.
Because they were infused with the knowledge and enthusiasm of 25 plus years of punk, power pop, hardcore, emo, indie rock, new wave and DIY pop, and they seemingly couldn't help themselves. Then, hey, kismet! With the addition of the innovative Chris Preston on bass and hyperkinetic Jerrold Kavanaugh on drums, along with guitarist Greg Swanson and John Telenko on vocals, The Amber Jets were born. Endowed with a long musical legacy, all of which has led to this- the refinement of their own sound, and live performances that will blow your head off. As I said, this is not the Next Mediocre Thing. Judge for yourself. From the brief, distinctive opening guitar of "Walk Through" to the last, lone harmony of "Ten Second Rule", it's impossible to tear oneself away from these 10 songs.
The Amber Jets back up their peerless song writing with powerful vocals, hook-filled melodies, unique, irresistible harmonies, served over a tight rhythm section and excellent guitar. All of the disparate elements mesh, caught flawlessly by Don Fury, whose recording highlights the band's intricate interplay with amazing sound, creating an intensive aural depth of field. So, meet The Amber Jets, the only band on the planet that will have you humming about Samuel Beckett. Put in the CD. One spin and it nags at you, lodges in your head.
Two spins and you're hooked. Three spins and you're an Amber Jets junkie, eagerly awaiting your next fix. Yeah, go ahead and satisfy your craving for music that sounds new, alive, fresh. Come on &the first taste is free.
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