Not Another Playne Jayne just released their first self-titled album this past Memorial Day. Just as their name claims, one of the group’s many facets is the way they mix up traditional roles and expectations within the hard rock genre. The group uses pretty uncommon instrumentation in their trio, hence the relevance of their name. The group gets a lot of things right, but still has work to do before they will be seeing their name up on billboards. Nonetheless, their first album was an enjoyable listen and consistently erred on the side of heavy drums, bass and guitar for all the fans of heavy music.
The group is made up by two singers, Stephen Jayne and Adam Stewart, and their bud JD Stefan who does all the instrumentation. The breakdown is not what you expect when you think of the genre, to say the least. No one on guitar, bass or drums and yet they have some dark and meaty riffs and rhythms that really set the pace and tone of each song. So either, all of their content is digital or they just didn’t bother to mention who does their solos and who keeps them all in time. Of the two, I hope it is the former and not the latter! From the band description they put up on their website, it seems that all their music is done digitally, which is and should be a non-issue in the world we live in and to discredit a band for not playing their own music is kind of silly.
When your band has two singers and no band, at least in the traditional sense of the word, everything comes down to vocals and lyrical content. My biggest frustration with heavy genres, be them rock, metal or hardcore, is that so often the lyrics are thrown to the wayside and indiscernible. Fortunately, Not Another Playne Jayne doesn’t fall into that trap. The words they are say, sing and scream are consistently clear, much to my relief. Within that, the two singers really bring out a variety of different vocal techniques and splice them intermittently into their album. The two of them have naturally deep voices, but it doesn’t stop them going up into higher registers with accuracy. They also growl and scream to add further variation to what they bring to the floor. Vocally, I feel like the duo does a good job of mixing up what they do and it creates a desire to listen through the whole album. I admit, there are occasional places throughout the album where I felt like something was a little off with the vocals, but they were few and far between and insignificant enough to slip the notice of most listeners.
I want to say a big thumbs up to JD Stefan for mixing up some sweet instrumentals. He managed to arrange some really sweet melodic sections that can really cut the incredible energy and tension that he is able to build up, like in the album’s eighth track Sentiment, where an intermittent break in the high energy riffs really adds flavour and depth to the song. As mentioned previously, Not Another Playne Jayne tends to be on the high energy side, but when they do slow things down, like in Sentiment and in their fifth track Just as Well, the change, if only momentary, really brings a lot to the album and adds a nice spice of variety.
I think that, for a debut album the group has really got something going. They aren’t finished on their musical journey by any means, quite the contrary. It is going to be a long road, but the trio seems to have their mind and hearts set on bringing their own somewhat unique ensemble to the floor and adding their perspective to the mix. Their first album was a good listen, but they have a lot more to achieve, accomplish and experiment with before they can lay down to rest. Best of luck, I for one am looking forward to see what the future holds for Not Another Playne Jayne.