If before listening to Jump Ship Quick’s new album, Where Thieves Cannot Tread, I thought to myself “You know what the world really needs? A Christian Right equivalent to Pennywise,” I would have been pleased with what I heard.
I’m trying to be open-minded about it. Musically Jump Ship Quick has a sound that’s very similar to the Epi-Fat sound of the 90’s, and that’s something that I think almost everyone can get behind. The lyrical angle is another story, however. I listen to plenty of bands with members that have beliefs that are different from mine and often times I can still enjoy their songs greatly. But when politics get involved, things get messy and complicated. For many people, including myself, right wing politics and punk go together as well as oil and water and no matter how good the music is, if a band’s lyrics don’t sit right with the listener it’s going to be really hard to enjoy it. This goes both ways, of course, as I’m sure there are many people out there who have tried to like NOFX, but can’t because tracks like “Franco Un-American” or “Idiot Son of an Asshole” go against their personal values. This sums up the way I feel about Jump Ship Quick.
I’ll admit that I didn’t pick up on the band’s politics until about midway through the album, during the pro-life anthem “Killing for Convenience”. The lyrics concerning “abortion rights” and accusing the pro-choice parties of slaughtering unborn children are certainly not a typical subject found in punk rock, and are bound to draw much criticism (because let’s face it- even if it’s a song that’s against pro-choicers, men aren’t the ones capable of having an abortion and the song’s message is pretty misogynistic), but the band plows through the song without a care for what others think. On the title track, the band takes the poppier approach found on plenty of mid-90’s Epitaph albums to deliver an off-key melody about washing away the sin and finding salvation in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Once hearing a chorus like that, the rest of the album begins to feel preachy and everything starts to sound like a Biblical or Conservative allusion, even if it isn’t mean to be one. I’m not saying that every song on the album gives off a strong Christian moral vibe, but it’s hard to enjoy the album knowing that the songs that do have that message are so explicit in their lyrical content.
The true highlight, for me, comes in the form of “I Defy Your Violence” which calls out the aggressive goons of the punk and hardcore communities on their vicious attitudes, as well as calling for it to end. Has it been done before? Yeah, of course it has. Yet there are still overly-aggressive kids at shows, and the message still bears repeating to this very day. For the most part, though, I just don’t stand on the same ground as the band members do on several of the subjects they sing about. I’m sure that somewhere out there is bound to be a fanbase who agrees the band’s lyrics regarding specific hot topics, but I just can’t say that I am a part of that group.
Of course, there is a chance that I’m wrong about all of this, and Jump Ship Quick is the Stephen Colbert of punk rock. If so, then they’re really good at it. Based on their Twitter account and record label’s mission statement, I’m inclined to think that they’re not the Report to Pennywise’s Daily Show. Such a shame, it could have been a fun co-headlining tour.
In conclusion, this is not an awful, unlistenable album, but it’s not one that I can say that I enjoy. Kudos to Jump Ship Quick for staying true to what they believe in, and for not compromising their ideals to make more widely accessible music. I mean that sincerely, I really do. But sorry fellas, I’m going to have to stay aboard this time. Godspeed.