Jail Solidarity is a 3 piece band hailing from Washington DC. Dredged in sludge and seasoned with politics, Pretty Good Privacy is a snarling political album dealing with contemporary issues of privacy: the media, street harassment, government surveillance. “Bluffdale” is the title of one of the songs, and also the name of the NSA data center in Utah, far from the residential utopia the pamphlets and propaganda would have you believe. Jail Solidarity gives us a bitter snapshot of “Bluffdale” that reads like an expose on the current state of privacy. Most of the lyrics are rapidly delivered in short bursts against snarling guitars, containing phrases like (“Gagged providers/decrypt communications”) and ending with the poignant (“We’re but pocket litter/for saboteurs”). The band has a knack for saying very much with very little, emotions embodied in the harshness of the guitar and the desperation of the screams.
What’s unique about Jail Solidarity is that all three members of the band (Kristin Eliason, Lindsey Porambo, Jason Lobe) are occasional vocalists. The tracks alternate between the band members, giving us a morbid variety of song topics and a much needed perspective of women’s experiences. The vocals are downright savage at times, ripping through the harsh and muddy instrumentation to give us a very real display of the band members’ frustration. Some lyrics on the album harken back to the riot grrl music of the 90’s, in both sentiment and style. On “Careful”, we hear the band grappling with the notions of ownership and privacy of womens’ bodies (“Give us your body / but keep all the shame”).
On “Lights Out” is an instrumental interlude, the only time on the album where we hear Jason Lobe’s protagonistic guitar without a grimy grunge pedal. “Lights Out” is the blistering closer to the album, with a repeated refrain of (“Why is it bad if it doesn’t make me feel bad”) amidst murmured verses. The vocals here are haunting and desperate, an absolutely chilling and sincere companion to the track. Sincerity is a good word to describe Jail Solidarity – the songs prod at weightier ideas and large concepts, something hard to transcribe successfully into musical form. Pretty Good Privacy is not a perfect record by any means, but Jail Solidarity is a band with massive potential, and I look forward to hearing future releases.
You can find Jail Solidarity on bandcamp,where they released their album on Accidental Guest Recordings.