A Good Day For The Damned, by Jaya The Cat
Suggested by Lee Brook
On Day 2 of this project, I was introduced to Jaya the Cat.
It was my fifth album, entitled More Late Night Transmissions With…, and it scored a very impressive 8/10. At the time, it was the highest-scoring album of the project, a record it kept until Volbeat came along with their 9/10 offering for Album 30.
Here’s what I said about that album, some 259 albums ago.
“Having never heard of Jaya the Cat, I went into this like a blind mouse… but after the first few tracks, I knew I was in good hands (or paws). A deft mix of ska, punk, and reggae, with an expressive vocal growl and impressive lyrics, the album bounced along at an energetic pace, drawing me along for the ride.”
It’s fair to say that when this album was Randomised, I was excited. A chance to revisit one of the first truly “new finds” you’d helped me discover, an opportunity to see if the band’s further output matched the energy and verve of Album 5.
After listening, I’m sad to say that A Good Day For The Damned was a mediocre day for Craig.
It’s tricky to pinpoint where things go wrong. On the face of it, the same elements are there. It’s still a deft blend of ska, punk, and reggae, and it still rocks “with an expressive vocal growl and impressive lyrics.” Please consider that, at Album 5, the word “growl” hadn’t morphed into the all-encompassing descriptor for death metal nonsense; this growl is positively melodic in comparison.
The problem lies with the pacing, I think. While More Late Night Transmissions With… came at me like a typhoon, with bouncing beat-box bravura and a galloping urgency, A Good Day For The Damned takes a more laissez-faire, laid-back approach. The songs aren’t ballads, of course, but they are more mellifluous, more subtle and cultured and slow. Some might appreciate this more “balls-in” outlook, but I prefer it when the songs are red raw and rocking.
There are highlights nonetheless. There are always highlights. My standout song is Huddersfield Rain, a song I mentioned at the end of my Album 5 review.
“They have a song called Huddersfield Rain… you can’t get more evocative than that. If it involves Yorkshire binmen getting drenched, I’ll be in heaven.”
While it isn’t about binmen, it’s definitely evocative, and while it’s one of the aforementioned slow and sleazy numbers, it hits the spot.
I’d love to tell you that, on the evidence of two albums, Jaya The Cat have done enough to take their place in my personal Hall Heroes. Sadly, it’s not to be. After their more incendiary early work, A Good Day For The Damned scores a disappointing 6/10, coming across as a damp squib.