First forming under the grey skies of Binghamton, N.Y. in 2007, the Jims may very well be the great apathetic hope of the city’s underground music scene.
With witty song titles like, “Don’t Catch Cancer,” “Danny Bonadouchebag” and “I Just Wanna Fuck You,” the group appears to be just your average young, loud and snotty punk band. However, upon closer inspection repeat listens reveal that this is a group that knows its music history, or at the very least, their own twisted version of it.
While eschewing popular musical styles like emo or phony metal posturing, the most clearly identifiable influence on the band is punk rock forefathers the Ramones. Much like the venerable legends of CBGB’s, many of the Jims songs come in at barely over a minute and are filled with the kind of simple melodies that would not be out of place on an old AM radio hit. They even share the Bowery legend’s little seen soft side with songs detailing subjects like high school crushes, and “The Girls at R-bee’s.”
Elsewhere, political incorrectness reigns supreme. Taboo issues like rape, drug abuse, and death threats are all given turns through the Jims skewed world view and come out sounding like vintage hardcore jams from the early ‘80s. Still, the band never strays far from their pop leanings as evidenced by the almost hummable “Pedestrian,” and “Fell in Love with You.”
As a live act, the Jims are reminiscent of little kids who have ingested far too much sugar. They are all high energy, pausing only long enough to count to four and start the next number or ask the audience for more cough syrup. All three members take turns flailing about, seemingly out of control, but seldom missing a note. And even if they flub a chord or two, their enthusiasm often rides roughshod over the mistake, quickly rendering it a moot point.
Unfortunately, the one aspect of their act that the Jims do not share with their heroes is perhaps the most telling. While the Ramones were an industrious band that toured ceaselessly and recorded frequently, the Jims appear to have very little career ambition. Their gigs are infrequent, sparsely attended, and what few recordings they have are more a plea for extra cash than true artistic statements. Yet, even amidst their best efforts to hide it, glimmers of true talent continually bleed through the band’s lackadaisical appearance.
See the video for “Rhianna Got Punched in the Face” here:
Perhaps they are a symbol of the times – true cynics for the cyber age, thrashing about on stage because they can’t find anything better to do. We should all be so lucky.