REVIEW: Jack the Envious – Pull You Down [EP/2016]


Artist: Jack the Envious
Album: Pull You Down EP
Release Date: February 2016
Genre: Post-Hardcore/ Alternative

What happens when you take a good ol’ lump of post-hardcore, fold in a dash of punk, as well as a pinch of Tim Burton-esque alternative elements, and toss them in a musical blender? The result is a quizzical concoction that mostly fits the description of the interesting and intriguing sound of Jack the Envious and their debut E.P. “Pull You Down”. Completely independent and a relatively fresh face on the scene, Jack the Envious already shows promise and originality with this admittedly strange, yet enjoyable release.

“Pull You Down” begins with an eerie, and somehow soothing, music box-style instrumental that immediately establishes from the get-go that this has something quite different to say, (musically speaking), than a typical modern metalcore or post-hardcore album. This macabre ambiance continues into the next track and swells into notably solid guitar-work and the sudden scream to “Wake Up!” from vocalist Nir Perlman that jolts the listener to attention. From here, Jack the Envious demonstrates the core song structure of the E.P.; a strong, yet relatively simple chorus that weaves into the heavier and more avant-garde elements later in the song.

This formula unfortunately weighs the E.P. down with a bit of predictability, but Jack the Envious endeavors to offer some variety with some fast-paced and driving metalcore-influenced songs, and some songs that are more keyed back in terms of intensity. Throughout the eight-track romp, the inner “emo kid” deep down inside me jumped for joy, and of course with emotive rebellion, to the familiar-sounding melodies that somewhat echo back to the earlier days of My Chemical Romance and even tinges of Green Day. Whether it’s with the moody sweeps in the background, or the driving, crunchy, and even djenty riffs, guitarists Guy Avnon, Shalev Grados, and Guy Checkarov prove themselves as more than capable musicians. Percussionist Itay Shats, keeps the ebb and flow from light to heavy of “Pull You Down” going, skillfully transitioning from one extreme to the next.

I have mixed feelings about the vocals, though. On one hand, the screams and growls are on point; aggressively emphasizing the heavier portions of “Pull You Down” without sounding screechy or forced, and showcasing a well-rounded range. On the other hand, the clean vocals are wedged somewhere between energetically emotional and unpleasantly nasal in sound. They sway back and forth between these levels, never fully dipping into one side or the other, but the catchiness of the choruses and other melodies drew my attention away from these shifts.

Lyrically, “Pull You Down” also appeals to the previously mentioned “emo-kid” within many metalheads, whose metal roots began to grow with “emo screamo” scene of the early to mid 2000’s. There’s plenty of angst to go around, yet it perfectly complements the somber mood of the album, without coming across as gimmicky or generic. Thankfully, the ever-infamous “break-up” song lyrics are absent from this release, which is pleasantly surprising, considering Jack the Envious’ influences; this only solidifies the fact that they are striving to craft their own original sound amidst an ocean of other metal and post-hardcore bands in the scene today.

Ultimately, Jack the Envious has a lot to offer the listener through “Pull You Down”. It presents a darkly unique twist on post-hardcore that is as interesting and mysterious as it is familiar and heavy. There some stylistic kinks that need to be worked out, yet I feel like that absolute perfection is an unfair demand of a debut release (or any piece of music for that matter). Despite any present flaws, Jack the Envious demonstrates with “Pull You Down” that they are a group of musicians with vast potential and a drive to succeed. With its grim and creepy atmosphere, its plentiful brutal, and mosh-able moments, and emotive sing-along choruses, this E.P. lays the metal-encased foundation for what seems to be a promising future for the band.

by Chad Brown

Check out the music video for “More To Life” below!

Buy Pull You Down: Bandcamp