RETROSPECTIVE 1995-98 - Jericho (Popboomerang)
If you're sick of hearing about the ones that got away, stop reading now. Aussie guitar powerpoppers Jericho might not have been the biggest band of the '90s to wear that tag but they've left behind a nice legacy.

Nirvana and that drugged-out 1991 tour Down Under had a lot to answer for, not the least of which was flooding the Australian live scene with wannabe copyists whose names and set lists are now long forgotten. Some worthwhile stuff there for sure, but it seemed "the Seattle sound" (whatever that was) crowded out just about everything else (arguably setting the scene for today's extreme fragmentation in live music). It certainly sucked the life out of the touring circuit in Europe and it's doubtful that it's recovered, except in Spain and Scandinavia. Jericho, who took their cues from DM3, the Little Murders and the Hoodoo Gurus, were among the victims of a rush to join a flannel shirt army.

Jericho are framed, in the current sense, by being a past vehicle for Danny McDonald, a nice guy and probably the premier up-and-comer in Australian powerpop. The forerunner for P76, and his current solo band, Jericho issued four EPs enjoyed a measure of airplay on Triple Jay (which used to occupy a space on the dial to the left of the mainstream) so some of the tracks will be familiar. Of them, "Everybody's Fool", "Falling Out of Love", "Talking to Myself" and "Can't Find Reverse" are the pick.

Danny reckons he's come along as a songwriter since Jericho and he's probably right. The P76/Danny McDonald band stuff stacks up against just about anything else in the current genre and is a bit more focussed and a lot more confident than the songs on "Retrospective". But that's not to say they aren't worthwhile and fresh. For example, "Coming Down" is the breezy opener - a previously unreleased demo - which strikes me as a real gem. There are eight demos here among the 21 tracks and at least half of them are as good as the songs that made it out into the open.

Jericho play (played) a brand of vibrant, hooky pop that, for the most part, sounds timelessly up-to-date and free of the pretensions that have dogged some of their contemporaries. Full marks to Popboomerang for ensuring the legacy lasts. - The Barman




3/4

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