Album Review – Try Harder by Mean Jolene (2019) (Austin Town Hall Records)


After nearly three years Austin based Mean Jolene, make a mockery of the difficult sophomore axiom with another album that simultaenously pushes the boundaries of both modern day power-pop, jangle-pop and the strength/vulnerability continuum, that is always conveyed in their core sound.

Initially, it is an altogether more forceful affair compared to the 2016 Salty debut. Tracks such as Doubt It, Dark Harmony and Cruelty is a Test, snap just past the usual parameters of power-pop and twist subtle layers of jangled riffs under their new found bellow.

Such dynamism is held together by Jolie Cota Flink‘s sweet and vulnerable vocals, that should be alien to the surrounding noise but strangely acts as it’s pied piper style leader. For those of old enough to remember, this is all Transvision Vamp for the 2010’s.

As wonderful as the above delineated grumble is, fans of the more melodic Salty will still have plenty to hang their ‘pretty’ upon. The superlative stand out Not Enough (see below) is still on the sweeter side of noise/fuzz pop and is in great company with similar tracks like Sick of Love and Glory Daze assure the committed fan that the core vibe of their sound still has a living beating heart, fuelled by insistent jangled riffs and flourishing hooks.

Austin Town Hall Records have a delightful ability to find these ‘beautiful noise’ bands and are backing yet another as they add continued substance to their status as a must follow label.

Artist Links:  Instagram  Official Site  Facebook

Label Links:  Twitter  Facebook  Bandcamp

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