JUNG BULLS "S/T" c20 (New Visions)

This self titled tape, which feels more like an EP because of the songs and variation, is a compelling piece of magnetic tape and plastic. JUNG BULLS is Jeff Somers who, with small exception, is responsible for everything on the tape.

When the tape opened, I almost immediately shut it off and put back my Chantels LP. More 'hypnagogic' influenced pink-mud pop stuff. Thinking "hasn't this passed already?" Are people still apeing this? But I let it ride, trying to look passed the now cliche phasered/over-revered semi-nasal vague pop sensibility to see what happened. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of the first song. Instead of all of the elements combining into a taped over, sonic dreamscapade, it felt like all of the parts were running into each other, getting in the way of the larger picture, all parts overly effected/affected and consequently ineffective.

The second track was a step back or to the side. A bit more straight pop like 'indie rock' for lack of a better phrase and Jeff is clearly more comfortable and able to float some strong melody to the front while everything else sort of chugs along, playing their supporting role. Nothing outstanding or stuff that is going to get stuck in your head but it's clear there's some agency in this writing, whereas the first track (Growin Split) felt like auto-pilot, this song (Natural Sounds) gives the impression there is a musician in the room.

I see the strengths of slowgaze/hypnagargle, etc in a strong sense of self and the fusing of that identity with decayed, washed out, fused/melted tones creating something singular and expressive. It seems too often people think "phaser" and "plodding drums" with a "VHS aesthetic" will convince people there's some strength to the actual music when there is not much but smoked out mirrors.

JUNG BULLS, especially on the second side shows a lot of promise in bringing an ability to toy around with a lot of styles, the clean guitar and whispy vocals on the first track, the fuzzed out bass and revealing arrangements on the second song and then back to a much lighter version of the phaser/keyboard/muddiness on the last.

Again, though none of them are running through my head, making me replay the tape, I think with some time all of the pieces that make up these songs can begin to interact and stand on their own, separate from the overbearing influence of right now, turning into something very singular and very much a byproduct of the obviously talented mr somers. When that happens, homeboy is gonna drop a real memorable slab of wax.