Three years ago Portland, OR band, Jonah, had just released their second record, Trust Everyone Before They Break Your Heart to much critical acclaim. The album had been two years in the making, culminating in an intensive month long recording session in LA where they teamed up with hit-making producer Marshall Altman. The band received press in SPIN Magazine and the Studio City Sun and was in regular rotation on Portland’s KNRK 94.7 and KINK, Seattle’s KEXP and numerous other stations around the country. Music from the record was placed in film and tv shows and included on numerous compilation discs. They played sold out shows with Australia’s Youth Group and the Silversun Pickups and showcased for major labels. Their unique brand of anthemic rock music was turning heads and it seemed as though Jonah was poised to take it to the next level of their career.
Well, a lot can happen in a few years, especially when you’re talking about a band and their music. The release of Trust Everyone… also coincided with the births of three babies, including a set of twins! Rock and roll inevitably took a back seat to the responsibilities of raising families. That and the sudden departure of the band’s long time bass player, Matt Rogers, left the remaining three adrift with no clear direction, the wind went out of the sails, so to speak. After some time trying to decide whether it was worth it to continue as a band, the remaining three members decided to press on. They acquired their friend Jules Holbrook to replace Rogers on bass and found the fit to be perfect. Jules brought a new dynamic to the group that included a sharp ear for harmonies and a great voice. For Jonah, everything seemed to collapse and then miraculously rebuild itself, evolving into something brand new and yet totally recognizable as themselves.
That evolution is made clear on their new record, The Wonder and the Thrill, set to be released in October 2010. The sound that defined their last release, Trust Everyone Before They Break Your Heart, with its careening guitars and anthemic choruses, has been stripped away to reveal leaner and intentionally sparse arrangements. There is room to breathe within the verses, space to hear what is and isn’t being said in the choruses. Intricate vocal harmonies add another dimension missing from previous releases. A lighter touch, but perhaps a deeper poignancy defines these songs that examine the inner and outer world, the relationships we hold dear, and the ones that eventually are let go. The Wonder and the Thrill is the sound of a band maturing, where saying less is often, in fact, saying more. It is the sound of a band evolving into something brand new, without losing what made them so appealing in the first place.