Amsterdam-based alt-rock quartet Jagd rattle society’s foundation with their propulsive debut album, ‘Talking to yourself to others’, which is a megaphone for the powerless and disenfranchised.
With the world’s eyes fixated on the United States and awaiting the decision on who would be its 46th President, a young, emerging band from Amsterdam quietly released its debut album on Friday. Jagd‘s Talking to yourself to others, however, is more than just another record from a group wanting to be heard. On the contrary, it is a resounding, politically- and socially-charged output that is the megaphone for the powerless and disenfranchised. It is reminiscent of the propulsive music that once filled the airwaves in the early ’90s, and one that any alt-rock fanatic must hear. Check that, the LP should be heard by all those seeking to permanently change the foundations of what defines who we are.
Throughout the album, Nanne vd Linden (vocals), Jos Neering (guitar), Timo Mes (drums), and Thom Schotanus (bass) adopt a “no-prisoners” approach, as they unfurl relentless, guitar-driven mania with the intention of exploding minds and challenging our conceptions as to what is acceptable. The brisk “Pink Skies” opens the record and commences with an innocent guitar riff and tapping rhythms. This, however, is the calm before the storm, which arrives when vd Linden’s piercing vocal overwhelms the airspace. With Shirley Manson-like intensity, she takes her stand and proclaims she isn’t ready to give up. “Tell everyone I’m not taking the stairs”, she hollers to her oppressors.
vd Linden doubles down on her position on the seething “High Hopes” and the darkly hypnotic “Attention”. On the latter, she rallies those like her who have been “left damaged”, become a “loose cannon”, and deemed to crave “attention”. Together, they will incite a riot, as depicted on the former. With a steely gaze and the support of the roaring arsenal of her bandmates, vd Linden assertively states:
“All of you will get your peace
Soon you will get sick of me
That you must go wrong you’ll see
I’ll make sure you’ll get sick of me”.
What is at the heart of vd Linden’s attacks? The answer is provided on the gritty, raucous, and poignant “Violins”. While the beginning is diligently melodic, vd Linden’s vocals are assertive and even desperate. She takes on the misogyny that continues to exist in the world, where men think women are nothing more than sex objects. They can be used and abused as long as the men are “providing”. vd Linden pulls no punches when she sings from the perspective of the rapist. On one instance, she sings:
“You will strive to please me everyday
It is my God-given right to be entertained”
Then later, she says with distain:
“You want to waste this?
That bums me out
You ungrateful fucker
No one turns me down”
The darkly intense “Two cents and scripted sorry’s” further delves into the inescapable captivity that many women continue to face today. Their salvation may only come in the form of a woman “riding naked on a high horse”, a reference to Lady Godiva and her extraordinary effort to protest her husband Leofric’s oppressive tax on the lower class. Or maybe it will take a great fury as revealed on the post-punk bender, “No Filter”. With a satirical and not-so satirical bite, vd Linden hollers:
“Lord, give me patience
Just don’t give me strength
Because I’ll fucking kill men
And that’s just common sense”.
Jagd’s focus, though, extends to the wider society. They target the institutions men have created to keep people oppressed. The hurtling rocker, “All work/all play” describes the work-driven, consumer-obsessed culture that exists. The result is a society where the Jacks of the world have become “dull” and just a “joke” for being nothing more than a cog in the big machine. This notion of humanity’s mechanization reverberates on the electro-rocker, “Spreadsheet poetry”. As synths, guitars, and rhythms surge, vd Linden describes how people have become predictable, as the rigidness of capitalism governs their actions. Words no longer are the means by which we connect, instead dollar signs define our relationships. They define who we are and how we see other.
Until we break the cycle, as foreshadowed on the swirling “Connect the dots”, hope for some will be lost. There will, however, always be people who will rage again the establishment and seek our liberation. They will try to open our eyes, free our minds, and fight against the tyrants, misogynists, and the vile overlords that rule. It started on the weekend, but the battle continues and Jagd has given us an album to rally behind.
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