Album Review: Mary Jane Kelly – “Like There’s No Tomorrow”

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I never completely understood the whole ‘face melting/melted face’ phrase that has become common place in the internet vernacular of many album reviewers, including myself.  Truth be told, as a female, the prospect of having my face melt sounds terrifying, horribly painful and ridiculously embarrassing. Then I heard the Mary Jane Kelly release, Like There’s No Tomorrow.  Everything became clear. Not only did it melt my face, it also made me lose my shit, made my pants explode and then called shenanigans on my stereo.

The four gents from Wollongong simply went into the studio and, by studio, I mean they traveled eight minutes down the street to record Like There’s No Tomorrow in a mate’s garage.  It worked.  Released in March through Trial and Error Records, this offering is relentless from go to whoa and a strong contender for Australian album of the year.  It’s not quite hardcore,  it just is what it is and that is brilliant.

It begins with a slow instrumental intro including heavy guitars before kicking into Pigs Of Gluttony which is an attack on the aural senses.  This song also introduces the distinctive voice of Justin Bortignon whose vocals are rough, angry yet passionate but never tiring on the ear.  All qualities I favour highly.

The Imprecision Of My Dimensions carries this through, beginning with Jim Salem thrashing the drums before Matt Velozo kicks in with one of the album’s more technical riffs.  By the time you catch up, a catchy-as-hell melodic vocal part has slipped into the mix.  A voice sounds uncannily similar to that of Lungs front man, Adam Lees.  Adding a pop-punk moment, albeit fleeting, to music this heavy is risky.  However they pull it off.  Bortignon’s gruff vocals in the back ground during the pop-punk inclusion plays its part as a wise move by the band, reminding everyone that it is still MJK at the helm.

The record is heavy on the bass. Brendan Dive does more than prove that he knows his way around a fret board.  This is most evident in Wallflowers and If God Were Here – the latter is one of the finest pieces of work that MJK have produced to date.  The other being Weak, Corrupt, Worthless & Restless in which Velozo opens with a fast clean riff then it picks up the drum and bass before the tempo jerks, finally finishing with the same riff with which it began.

Lyrically the album runs over inspired content.  There is no doubt that Bortignon put time and a vast amount of thought in the substance of each song.  The album covers extremely personal content, all of which, on some level, is easy to relate too.

Like There’s No Tomorrow pushes what it is considered musically acceptable within many scenes.  It’s full of amazing guitar riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a punk album, interchanges hardcore and metalcore elements with ease yet doesn’t come off as being wanky.  And, despite their gritty, passionate intensity, the vocals retain a level of cleanness most hardcore artists would struggle to match.

The album never allows itself to get pinned into the standard hardcore template.  While hardcore is the first word that comes to mind, it meanders through great elements of hardcore and metalcore amongst others which makes pigeonholing this release a complete waste of time.

The record is practically impossible to fault. Mary Jane Kelly have set their own bar high with this offering and if they manage to maintain their own standards, they are going to need to invest in a pump of some sort at their live shows to extract all the puddles of melted faces.  If you’re overdue for a case of melting face, get yourself a towel and head on over to their MySpace page.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my head in the freezer in an attempt to reform my own face.

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