The environment is conducive to rock shows of yesteryears. Bands like Ada Jane thrive, while the occasional indie rube flounders, unsure of how to respond to such course temperaments.
The album is somewhat of a departure from Ada Jane’s earlier work. As I mentioned before, this is not a band too concerned with ambiguity, musically or lyrically (bona fide Minneapolis rock, ya’ll!).
Their music is appealing for its assertive delivery, smart, sincere lyrics, and singer Matt Marka’s “play-like-it’s-your-last-show-ever” charisma (an attitude that’s often lost on younger generations). That being said, Under demonstrates the band’s desire to meander a bit, exploring the soft underarm tones of vulnerability. Sprinkled amongst the rock-out standards are songs like “Climb Down” and “Late Late Nights,” incidental music for that blurry instant between your last drink and the inevitable navel-gazing that follows. “Climb Down” is practically a lullaby for its sweet demeanor and sad bits of prose: “There’s a boy who wants to be forgiven / A girl that wants to keep on living in her stormy skies.” I’m reminded of those special moments when Paul Westerberg unplugged and gave us stark self-portraits like “It’s A Wonderful Lie.” Marka’s lyrics tackle equally introspective themes: financial woes, passing time, and in a sense growing up. Under is very much a “grown ups” album, full of simple questions with complex answers, candid but never wallowing. While Ada Jane subscribed to the school of Rock early on, we like this understated—dare I say, personal—side to rock ego. Stream the album in its entirety via Bandcamp.
For those of you that collect ancient relics, hard copies of Under can be purchased locally (Minnesota) at Electric Fetus and all Twin Cities Cheapo locations, and globally through CD Baby (AJ’s got you covered!). For more information visit Ada Jane’s official website or Facebook page.