Monday, March 9, 2009

Review: The Bitter Tears "Jam Tarts In The Jakehouse"

The just-released CD "Jam Tarts In The Jakehouse" by Chicago's Bitter Tears is one of the most unique listening experiences you'll have all year...possibly in your entire life. Mix up the righteous angst of Bob Mould with the innovative musicianship of The Police, and stir in a healthy portion of independent goofiness a la They Might Be Giants and Ween, and you have something that begins to describe the genre-defying Bitter Tears. The Bitter Tears are the Evel Knievel of the modern rock world.

You'd think such a hodgepodge would result in a musical train wreck and, well, it does! But you can't help but rubberneck here - slowing down to get a closer look at the twisted metal, to watch the ominous black smoke make its way up to contaminate the white fluffy clouds. The Bitter Tears do not necessarily draw me in to listen, but once I start I can't bring myself to stop. It is just too damn interesting and you have no idea what they're going to do next, or whether they'll bring out piano, horns, strings, accordion, or good old fashioned acoustic guitar. Upon closer examination, you will begin to appreciate that there is a method to their madness, and they add enough hooks and harmonies here and there to keep you on the line to discover it.

Offbeat, crazy, coarse, and unpredictable - by all accounts, I should not be enjoying this CD at all. But there is something seductive in what they do that has me addicted and rushing out to friends, saying, "You've GOT to listen to this!" The Bitter Tears are wildly strange and surreal, but you won't forget them anytime soon.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 8, 9

The Bitter Tears on MySpace. Official site.

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