BY Paul Silver/Jersey Beat-
Jason Paul is part of the tight knit music community in San Pedro, California, and it shows. Many of the songs on this latest full-length LP from the band have that relaxed psychedelic tinged pop punk sound that Pedro bands are known for. But it’s interesting that this LP sounds like more like a compilation LP mixing EPs and singles from different bands together, as there are songs that don’t fit this mold, and indeed, don’t sound anything like the rest of the songs. I like the looseness of the tracks, and they mostly feel like they’re from another era, mixing 60s psych and protest music with mid 80s post hardcore. Listen to the first song of the LP, “Tongues in Knots,” to hear what I mean. It sounds a little like mid 80s music coming from Washington, D.C., but also vaguely retro. The lyrics are sung in multi-tracked unison, Paul belting out lyrics that seem to speak to the difficulty of clear communication and getting across meanings to others. Given the sound clip at the start (“Looks like it might be the year of the ballot or the bullet”), it could also reference the communication gap that’s part of the great divide in our society. I like the expansive feel of “Go For Broke,” the big open sound seeming to echo the sentiment in the poetic lyrics about breaking away from the cages of our daily existence and living as explorers (“I’ve searched the country / I slept where I fell / Oh, I live on the far edge”). I like the contrast, too, between the verses and chorus, the latter of which is huge sounding, like the open possibilities we all have before us. “All In All” has a nice retro rock and roll twang in the guitars that also jangle with that retro psych pop sound. It’s a favorite, and my interpretation of the lyrics is that the song is about staying focused on your goals and working slowly and steadily toward their fulfillment. Trying too much too fast risks burning out and failing. “Slow and steady wins the race / Looking behind will lose your place,” Paul sings, and then as the song picks up, he warns “Most stars fade out / Before they crash / Most tears get wiped / Before they fall.” 

One of the songs that’s part of this “separate EP from a separate band” is “Giving Up Our Names, a simple song with acoustic guitar that also includes a heavily reverbed piano and string synth that come in toward the end. It’s got a quietly sad sound to it that’s appealing. “We Took The Risk” trades in the retro psych for more of a modern indie pop-rock sound, and there are hints of twang in the guitars. And the closing track, “Trust,” has sparkling keyboards and acoustic guitar, with heavily reverb on the vocals. It’s a more pure 60s psych pop song that eschews the post-punkness of some of the other tracks. I like the sound the Know It Alls have, and those these outliers are nice songs, having them appear on the album makes it feel a little disjointed and less cohesive than it otherwise would be.

Short Bio written by Sean Cole:

Beer city's own Jason Klandrud came up in Milwaukee's early 2000's punk scene. He's played in many bands of that era including Eine Kleine Chinmuzik, Bob Ucker, and Rich People. Members include players from notable bands from said scene, the Modern Machines, Holy Shit!, and Tenement. Soon Jason grew tired of the brutal winters and in 2012 he packed his meager belongings and headed to the land of sunshine and superior Mexican food. San Pedro, CA. He became fast friends with the punk rock locals. Mike Watt has been quoted as saying "he's one well-mannered little dude!" Not long after moving to town he formed a supergroup called Lost Notes with Raul Morales of Mike Watt and the Missingmen fame on drums and Trevor Rounseville of the Underground Railroad to Candyland on bass. The trio pounded out some 'mats inspired gems. Due to the schedules of Jason's fellow bandmates, Lost Notes have had a hard time gaining momentum. At that point Mr. Klandrud decided to christen himself "Jason Paul" and pursue his passion of performing solo with my acoustic guitar. Wearing his influences on his sleeve, JP pours his soul out with Dylan-esque verbiage and a proletariat heart. His strumming prowess would make Guthrie proud. His yodel harkens back to the great Hank Williams or even Buddy Holly. Don't be mistaken though, Paul's tunes aren't just regurgitations of antiquity. Everything rings fresh, urgent and relevant to his experiences and our current times. Don't miss a chance to check out a real American artist, playing straight unadulterated music that most would file under folk.

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