Released: 2017, SixtyFourOnTheFloor/DS/Kobalt
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
JIBE’s status as a band has become nothing short of legendary as the intervening years wore on since their quiet demise. So it must be somewhat heartening for the Dallas-natives when a free but ticketed gig that announced their return sells out in no time at all - that's a lot of love right there. Fortunately for the band's fans, the group have reciprocated with a new album in the form of “Epic Tales Of Human Nature”.
What's immediately apparent from the outset is that the band are all about the good time rock and roll. “Children Of The Sun” erupts into life with a spring in the step and song in the heart, with a gloriously soaring chorus that screams, “We're back!” It's a feeling that actually seems to purveyors the entire record: a sense of joy and contentment. It certainly makes a change to hear such sentiment, what with the usual doom and gloom of the music (and wider) world.
There's almost a refreshing scent of late 90s/early 00s about this collection of songs, with “Girl On A Hill” and “Don't Give It All Away” sounding like they'd feel right at about back in those heady days. It might not have pushed the envelope further than what was peddled back then, but there's a certain bounce and vibrancy on offer that's so compelling. Even the melancholia-tinged acoustic ballad “Waiting” and syrupy closer “Bravery”, with it's kids choir sounding loud and proud, can't contain their respective smiles throughout.
Performance-wise, JIBE’s absence has clearly done nothing to diminish their abilities. The lads are on fire, with Tony Bittenbender’s lead guitar work sounding damn tasty, whilst Joe Grah’s rich, soaring vocals make for a rapturous listen. This is all atop a simple, yet solid set of songs that have been carefully written and collated together. Again, it's nothing new, but JIBE know who they are and what they do, so they stick with it. More power to them.
If anyone were looking for a blueprint to guise them through the process of writing a comeback album, “Epic Tales Of Human Nature” would not be a bad choice to look at. Meticulous songwriting with life woven into the fabric, and plenty opportunity to get up and rock out with some air instrumentation - it's what you'd look for to announce your return with the minimum of fuss. There's a little bit of everything for every fan of rock on offer here, so you can be sure that this record would be a welcome addition to the party playlist or general collection. JIBE were missed during their decade away, but their studio return will raise another smile to any fan (and those of a rockin’ disposition).
Review by: Lee Carter