Well, crap. I've always had a soft spot for Jonah's sturdy pop melodies, syrupy vocals and the grand scale of their music—but somehow the band's new album, The Wonder and the Thrill, got lost in the shuffle and we didn't preview Jonah's CD release show (tonight at Doug Fir) in WW. It speaks to the volume of great local bands and touring acts that a group like Jonah—one that deserves the attention of the local POPulace—gets overlooked, not just by me, but by the local press in general. But it also speaks to Portland's resistance for anything that sounds like it could garner radio airplay outside of OPB radio's In House.
That's a shame, because for the last decade, Jonah has been formulating some catchy-as-hell pop-rock tunes with monster guitar lines and victorious hooks. Not that it's all bells and whistles. In fact, compared to some of the group's previous output, "Bees" sounds quite restrained. It has a feel somewhere between late-aughts Walkmen and mid-'90s Catherine Wheel, with a sort of lyrical minimalism and bonus points for the woozy organ that accompanies Chris Hayes' twinkling guitar bits. The occasional dark, minor chord twist at the end of each chorus proves that Jonah is still getting its kicks listening to Pulp, and the Woah-ohs prove that the band still gets a kick out of pop convention. If you're in that same camp, tonight's Jonah show is for you.