Full disclosure: I used to know this quartet from Cambridge, Ontario Canada. They were great. When I first encountered Matt Greenhough and company, Faith No More had broken up and I was looking for something to replace them in my life. Something heavy, non-mainstream and with bonkers lead vocals. Here Comes Jim both terrified and delivered! I wore their T-shirt, I played the CD in store, I flew the flag. I loved this band.
That was 21 years ago. I’m no longer the angry young man. I wonder how this album sounds today?
It’s still sounds fucking great! It’s noisy — lots of guitars fucking around. “Unbridled Rock” meanders around but comes in to focus on the chorus. The cowbell is a nice touch. As remembered, the vocals really range from quiet sombering to full-on rage. “Ran” combines a melodic sensibility with a noisy guitar drowning. It’s a brilliant and unafraid mix of ingredients.
All the songs come flooding back even though I haven’t played this album in almost 20 years. “Try to Keep it Clean” was always a favourite. Melodic guitars and vocals against a cloudy backdrop. Matty G (that’s what we called him) did the clean and shouty vocals equally well but he’s especially good when he’s singing clean. He has a good handle on melody, but then at other times he just doesn’t give a shit about melody. Sometimes it’s about volume, sometimes about atmosphere. Many of the songs…float. “Angel Has to Breathe” is one such song, hanging uncomfortably over you. That is until the powerful chorus of “Who will save my soul? Who will take my shit and go?”
One of my biggest favourites 20 years ago was the slamming “She Is”, perfect for thrashing out on air guitar. The verses turn quiet and melodic, before the crash of distorted guitars return for an amazing chorus. Then the next track negates all that with “Negator”, an absolutely insane thrash-o-matic scream-fest…with a drum solo!
Fun fact: the feedback-laden instrumental track “5/5/2000” refers to an old book from the 1980s that claimed the world would end on that date, due to an alignment of the planets. All I could think was, “Shit…we have to survive Y2k and then yet another doomsday scenario in May? Come on! Who comes up with this?” The song is far more entertaining than the book from which it took its name.
I may not be an angry young man anymore but I get what I liked about Here Comes Jim beyond the friendship. They wrote good, stabbingly aggressive, intelligent rock far off the beaten path. I remember putting tracks like “She Is” and “Negator” on mix tapes and (later) CDs. There are no songs that suck. Only songs that rock. Listening to Here Comes Jim is like going into the ring for 10 rounds and coming out with a concussion.