JPT Scaring up Some Buried Treasure

A while back, I reviewed RumDum Daddy by Kansas City rockers JPT Scare Band, and as a result, the band was kind enough to send me two more of their discs, 2007’s Jamm Vapour and the 2009 reissue of Sleeping Sickness (both on the band’s own Kung Bomar label). Now, as I said in the initial review, RumDum Daddy was my first real exposure — I own Past is Prologue but don’t really count it for whatever reason — but on the occasions I’d heard the band’s name, it was usually in connection to Sleeping Sickness, so I was glad to get the chance to listen. And now that I’ve spent some real time with both it and Jamm Vapour, I thought it warranted a quick note, if only to say “no regrets.”

2000’s Sleeping Sickness was the first album JPT Scare Band put out on CD. The two preceding — 1994’s Acid Acetate Excursion and 1998’s Rape of Titan’s Sirens — were vinyl only and have never been reissued (good luck finding them), so for most of us, Sleeping Sickness is the earliest glimpse at JPT Scare Band we’re going to get. Of course, the legend goes the band got together in 1973 and just never put out an album, but hey, 27 years late is still better than never, and listening to the mighty guitar solo work of Terry Swope on the 15-minute title-track, I’m certainly not about to start complaining.

What amazes me is how JPT Scare Band manages to capture the spirit and sound of early ’70s heavy/acid rock without coming off as retro or over-stylized. Jamm Vapour is even more given over to that spontaneity, but even on Sleeping Sickness, it’s right there waiting to be heard. JPT Scare Band pull off what every retro act in this generation has been trying for, and by all accounts, they do it in a basement in the Midwest. They’re like a mathematical equation that makes two and two equal five, and they kick ass in the process.

Bassist Paul Grigsby and drummer Jeff Littrell do an excellent job backing Swope throughout (Swope and Grigsby handle vocals when they come up), but there’s no doubt that both Sleeping Sickness and Jamm Vapour are vehicles for the guitar to shine. And man, it does shine. Swope‘s got the kind of lead playing used to make bands famous, and these songs feel like what Blue Cheer could have become after their first two albums if they’d been able to keep it together. Thanks to the band for sending this stuff over for me to experience. It’s been a pleasure getting to know this work.

And by the way, JPT Scare Band reportedly have a new double-vinyl/CD, Acid Blues is the White Man’s Burden, due out this year on Ripple Effect Music. More info on that here.

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