Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Jena Berlin- Quo Vadimus

November 1, 2007

Jena Berlin- Quo Vadimus

www.myspace.com/jenaberlin

Jump Start records (www.jumpstartrecords.com)

Rock with a hint of socialist optimism

Although one should not rely on Jena Berlin’s new album Quo Vadimus as a direct definition of socialism, there is definitely a hint of it in this rock album.

The band’s name comes from the two cities where Karl Marx attended college. One would expect to feel this through the music, but instead there is a feeling of a lost cause.

In “I Swear We’re Leaving” I swore I had heard this song somewhere else and remembered that it was just commercial sounding. “Who am I?” is a phrase shouted throughout. It would be a good idea for Jena Berlin to figure out who exactly they are before they are lumped into a genre that is not quite punk, not quite mainstream and not quite a band that is sellable to either side.

Although some gimmicks were employed in “Crossed Arms” it wasn’t disappointing. The band would probably be better live, as they scream “Get up!/Get up!” They have some finesse in this song and the rhythm changes quite often, keeping one’s attention. On stage one could imagine during these changes the band is going crazy, and I can only hope they do because that may be their only saving point.

Throughout the Quo Vadimus there are aspects that could make the band successful and almost make this album an astounding one. But in the end one could not distinguish Jena Berlin from all the other wannabe punk bands. Just from listening to them, one would so badly want them to come together more gracefully, less rehearsed and more genuine.

Quo Vadimus is a record one should keep in the back of the mind. Watch this band, they have a spark of potential but are just waiting for that moment of “Eureka!”

-Marilyse Diaz

mjork@independentclauses.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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