Jamboree Push at Conscious and Conceptual Barriers on 'Life in the Dome'
Published Mar 31, 2022To decrypt Jamboree's Life in the Dome is to discover a melancholic tale of desolation. The sophomore release from the Winnipeg alt-rockers sees their misanthropic tendencies tumultuously wrestle with their desire for human connection.
A partial concept record, Life in the Dome revolves around the fictional story of a newly-elected mayor who builds a glass dome over the city, protecting and trapping the residents inside. A concept like this feels reminiscent of other records of alienation, like The Wall, or hell, even that Simpsons movie. But here, Jamboree are delicate and less conspicuous than the more well-known works. Life in the Dome is less about the political motivations of the dome, or a commentary on xenophobia, but rather how living in isolated segregation affects the mental wellbeing of the city's inhabitants.
The equally dominant soundscape matches the heady concepts. Songs like "The Dome" and "The Birds Are Chirping" feature distorted, washed-out guitars that envelop the listener with euphoric power, while other tracks remain intimate and muted. Through mumbling vocals, buried in a swell of depressive jangle, Life in the Dome is a catchy and melodic expression of doom. A clear and ever-present '90s aesthetic prevails through the album's entirety, and blending with midwest emo motifs means Jamboree settle nicely into nostalgic, sad boy college rock.
Jamboree's intentions are expressed clearly on album opener "The Snow," which captures the feelings of claustrophobia and detachment felt during unrelenting winter months. Mournful vocals emerge through a cacophony of swirling guitars, lamenting, "I heard life is cyclical, but maybe it's a straight line." Jamboree spend the entirety of "The Snow" playing with similarly straightforward lyrics that manage to capture universal feelings of alienation and anxiety. "I know that you'll sit and watch me as I fucking drown, you clown" is also just a great way to express dissatisfaction with someone.
The towering sonic volume in which Jamboree dabbles on "The Snow" is simultaneously intimate and dissociative. The meditative spoken-word tranquility carries the same emotive charge as the chaotic highs of squealing guitars and bombastic drums.
Life in the Dome is filled with moments of quiet reflection and introspective melodies. "Another Day" plays with the downtrodden malaise of slowcore, and features an alluring slide guitar. At the same time, "Quebec" reflects on the high cost of university textbooks, trouble making rent and other financial stresses. However great and honest these moments are, Jamboree show their elite nature when exploring the raucous side of experimentation.
"The Trees" builds into a brilliant full-frontal assault of intertwining melodies and distorted guitar solos, and while "Be True" starts as a "Say It Ain't So" clone, it soon transforms into its own singular, hard-rocking hysteria. The nucleus of "Walk" is a complete breakdown of any reasonable melody, and Jamboree's inclination to follow their curiosity helps make Life in the Dome sound uniquely itself.
Jamboree are honest in both their lyrics and instrumentation. While the record may be about the life of people trapped inside a city, Life in the Dome feels more like a band trapped inside their own minds, fiercely creating art for sanity's sake. (House of Wonders)