Listen Up! — July 2018

Banner Image for Listen Up Feature — Girl Listening to iPod

Album Cover Image — Must Build Jacuzzi

Band: Must Build Jacuzzi
Album: Last Place
Stars: 5/5

Must Build Jacuzzi is a ska-punk group from Peoria, Illinois and the album, Last Place, is a great showing of what they have to offer. Its chock full of emotion, from youthful exuberance and lighthearted silliness to faithful perseverance and somber frustration. Likewise, these sentiments are expressed by a wide range of musical styles, from hardcore to Latin. Despite such a stylistic and thematic expanse, friendship undergirds much of the album. Post-production is kept to a minimum, boasting unfiltered energy and an often unpolished sound. In addition to top-notch playing, time and feel changes are sporadic and jarring which keeps things engaging. My favorite track is “Swing Set Summer,” which is a perfect blend of excitement and nostalgia that anyone who’s left their hometown should be able to relate to. Overall, Must Build Jacuzzi is downright fun to listen to, and Last Place is an album perfectly suited for summer.

Image Single Cover—Ledger

Artist: Ledger
EP: “Ledger”
Stars: 3/5

Jen Ledger hails from Coventry, England and has been a professional musician her entire adulthood. After drumming with Skillet for 10 years, her eponymous debut EP puts her squarely behind the microphone, though her association with Skillet is somewhat of a double-edged sword. Sometimes it seemed like she and John Cooper merely switched places. Despite this, Ledger has more of a pop sound (even if only slightly) that sets it apart from Skillet, allowing Jen to showcase more of her vocal range and beautiful timbre. On much of the EP, her higher register is what makes the song. This isn’t to say that her voice or music is one-dimensional, but other aspects have a tendency to get drowned out by the production. Religious themes are hinted at, but fall closer to general motivation than spiritual victory. Nonetheless, it’s a solid debut EP and hopefully there’s more to come from Ledger.

— Caleb Trimmer