Andy Jeglic has fashioned another coup for the unsuspecting masses. He is a musical anarchist who would like you to believe he is the bastard love child of Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne doing their best Ma and Pa Kettle while keeping the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s in a constant state of pseudo revolution.
But alas Jeglic cannot just duplicate Communication Breakdown ad nauseam; instead he finds his way out of the woods beating to his own drum all the while ignoring the telltale signs of ennui. His music is diverse yet familiar as he explores a kaleidoscope of sound that colors his sepia toned excursions into his past and the colorful day glow sheen of his future.
He senses that his deep-seated melancholia has given meaning to his music but he can’t seem to stop himself from stepping on his own shadow and liking it. He knows all these diverse influences inform his craft and as he contemplates the ruse, Jeglic realized that if he puts the blender on high speed it frees him from the pinched sphincter music that dominates this turgid yet resilient scene. It is the zeitgeist for Mid-Michigan in the Age of Aquarius. It dawns on me that we need more people like Andy Jeglic and Distorted Waltz. They represent a new wave of love people. We will survive the cultural holocaust, we always have.
Beautiful Monsters is a well-conceived tightly bound song cycle of 11 tunes that stretch the typical labels assigned by a dumb-ass press who either over do the praise, damn the insolence, or pretend it didn’t happen; not to mention the tendency for artists, arrangers and producers to cop a feel from previous songs that hit the mark.
This disc opens with Image of the Sane; it must be about a healthy mind or something like that. This is a no nonsense rocker doing double 4-time leaving everyone breathless like someone slugged him in the chest. Jeglic’s resourceful tenor is in the pocket. He has an incredible range that he wears like the Emperor’s clothes. Jeglic is vocalist that dares to stretch the limits of his incredible three-octave range. He has a flexible tenor that hints of Ozzy Osbourne. The guitarist Matt Miller is exceptional, hitting the e-string like throwing a hand grenade that explodes just this side of total annihilation.
The hits keep on a comin’ with Ant Farm, a Nirvana influenced screamer that has a loud/quiet sections with impeccable timing thanks Cody Marecek. He pounds the skins like a heated up teenager with a bulging salamander and nowhere to put it. Heat and sex and sex and sex is followed by Gone a rollicking rocker that conveys an immediate walk-in-the-park image of good times and no hang ups. The vocalist sounds like one of those great mid-sixties British Invasion singers like Mike D-Abo from Manfred Mann or a pre-Sabbath Ozzy.
Jeglic’s versatility has a tongue-in-cheek perspective and lots of sunshine. It just might be a better day to start anew. Beautiful Monsters opens with an off key guitar scratch on the 2nd & 4th beat. The drummer rolls in to reinforce the time. The minor chord gives it an edge and the lyrics are filled with an honest melancholy and power; “People walk around the earth with faded eyes”; “The more I feel like you, the more I feel alone.”; “Beautiful monsters we make, missing a part of our soul.” The message is frightening – there is no redemption.
Discipline Blues is a mid-tempo rocker that gives Jeglic plenty of room to stretch his vocal chords. Miller plays the guitar like Todd Rundgren pumped up and muscular on acid with a taste of black beauties to smooth it out. Jeglic’s hard-edged vision is the scaffold for his incredible band…music for the millennials, hard edged with dark lyrics – tough as nails.
Sarah (Black & White) has a cleared eyed point of view from the beginning march of the swirling organ that recalls Procul Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale. Sarah may be a ghost or a fit of imagination. The lyrics include: “She’s got eyes like candles; keep burning my mind / 100 years ago, you remain ageless on the chapel wall / How many lives have you touched? This song is a solid and thoughtful treatise about life and death. It is a bittersweet mystery. We will never know until we get there. A Great Song!
Rolling the Dice opens with a soft circular guitar riff followed by a walking bass line that opens up to a full speed ahead musical juggernaut, e-string musings and mid-range riffing is complimented by some cool honky tonk piano courtesy of Tim Hendrikson. The piano syncopation is just what the song needed though it was a little to buried in the mix. The guitar break at the end is soulful and Jelic is a great screamer…he has a point of view. Thank God!
Bridge Made of Walls is a patented Jeglic screamer with the bass line leading the charge. There is more anger than angst. Jeglic does his best Robert Plant on the middle eight. It is pure Zeppelin molten-force lava with Miller riffing like a Jimmy Page doing an audition for the Yardbirds.
The reggae/ska inspired Child is an intricate kittle ditty with several tempo changes. The background harmonies unmask the ambivalence about a relationship that may have been doomed from the very beginning. The lyrics include; “The more you use the crutch / The more it harms / Everybody makes a choice / Love or misery”
Jeglic may be stepping on the shadow of his idols but his perspective is hard earned and his music is honest. Jeglic is one of the great vocalists on the scene. He can sing it sweet and low and then hit the high registers like a young Robert Plant.
Saw My Shadow is a contemplative wonder, a Gregorian chant revved up for the new masters of the universe. In his quieter moments Jeglic sounds a bit like Michael Stipe and on this song Jeglic and crew make a serious bid to become Indie wunderkinds. This is a great song that has an inner smile, reflective and accepting. Miller lays it down like a master and the harmonies are soul stirring. This is a perfect song that hints at a new maturity in the band.
If they play there cards right they might be able to pull off a coup de ‘etat as a middle class touring band, learning the ropes.
16th November, 2023
7th November, 2023