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  Stay Clean Jolene - Stay Clean Jolene - S/T ALBUM
By Sniggih Werdna submitted

Well it´s, or should I say they, have finally arrived - circa 150 neatly shrink wrapped copies of the Stay Clean Jolene CD courtesy of Steve at Bombed Out Records. Things move fast these days and even before I can get a few words let alone pictures up on the social network, I am already in receipt of enthusiastic Facebook posts, URL´s of websites streaming the tunes and witnessing rave reviews (dare I say it .... ) from both sides of our great North Atlantic puddle. It´s a rare occurrence these days for any UK punk release to be the subject of anything approaching what might be termed as ´anticipation´, however ever since their S/T debut 7" got great written votes of confidence from the likes of Hey Suburbia and Culturia, and previews of their tracks were snook out via sites such as Ruckus and Punk News, expectations about this upcoming release have been simmering nicely. Having been lucky enough to be privy to some great SCJ live shows and snippets of these recordings as they developed, I was excited to at last see and enjoy the final product in all it´s glory. I carefully slotted in the CD into the player whilst travelling to watch China Drum in Manchester. After absorbing the first few seconds of Concrete Block we all agreed that this album was definitely the poison of choice for the impending trans Pennine journey. The Swapmeet Kid (he of a million punk records) summed it up in his usually succinct way as ´brilliant´ continually being drawn back to track 2, Heads and Breakables, each tome greeting the chorus with his own impassioned rendition of ´it´s hard admitting mistakes !´. I found myself grinning and nodding in agreement 10 tracks, each of them with great melodies, possibly some of the ´best´ vocals I´ve heard in years and terrific guitar work make this an absolute stand out record. All the tracks are memorable and for a release that uses the same ingredients for each song it sounds remarkably fresh throughout. The added definition on the vocals and the subtle intricacies of Will´s guitar work that come out in the final mix, really enhance the listening experience. Having listened from start to finish quite a few times now, one thing that strikes me is how my preferred tracks chop and change and I find this as a always a sign of strength in an album. At the moment Miles Apart, Green (reassuring to discover I have been singing the correct lyrics for the last 12 months or so), All I Need and Replica are hitting the spot, but alas these will probably alter as quickly as the weather changes or my mood swings. There´s a real depth to this record - the lyrics have been described elsewhere as ´heartfelt´ and I can´t disagree with that. A great collection of personal reflections from one ´life story´ to date. The words are accessible and easy to relate to but sufficiently enigmatic to spark the imagination. I think these are sometimes the most difficult kind of lyrics to write, particularly to come across in a convincing way, but John carries it off really well. In our synthetic world it´s great listening to something that can stir us in good ways, oooooof ! ..... that sounds a bit prurient doesn´t it ....... but it feels good and honest, so I´m believing it ! Is it premature to give it album of the year - maybe as it´s only a week old ? .... but I´m struggling thinking of any 2014 release to beat it ! Roll on with the next chapter and let´s hope the Stay Clean Jolene juggernaut keeps steam-rolling on ....

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