If Afrika Bambaataa was looking for the perfect beat and Kinks singer Ray Davies was searching for the perfect riff, then Northampton’s noise-pop trio The True Jacqueline continues to explore some combination of both with their latest EP Like Way Out, which somehow manages to blend science fiction-sounding guitar licks, catchy pop chord progressions, and driving bass lines into a five-song collection that proves both enjoyably easy and challenging to listen to.
There’s more to True Jacqueline’s song structure than first meets the ears.
The album’s opener, “Knock Knees,” begins with a minute or so of building instrumental anticipation created by driving chords and bass melodies before adding bassist Kate Niemczyk’s vocals. “Don’t think I will remember the first time I heard that scream” she declares, as the tempo momentarily doubles—before slowing back down. Further into the track, guitarist Noah Cerveny solos in waltz time. Johann Sebastian Bach would no doubt be pleased.
As The True Jacqueline’s website notes, Niemczyk was “the group’s #1 fan” back in 2008, when the band’s original bass player departed. Niemczyk and Cerveny—who had formed the group a year earlier after seeing “a documentary about Jackie O.”—have split lead vocal duties ever since.
While the band currently only has “secret shows” scheduled, they plan a regional tour throughout New England this summer to support their new album.
For Like Way Out, The True Jacqueline ran tracks through various guitar effect pedals, and recorded vocals on a busy street. The result is exactly what one would expect from such strategies.
(Originally appeared in the Valley Advocate.)