The Mint Los Angeles, CA
The Players: Amanda Jones, guitar and vocals, Martin Lopez-Iu, lead guitar and keyboard, Lee Harcourt, drums.
Material: The Anti-Job pushes the envelope with its experimental tunes that blur the lines between psychedelic, noise rock, alternative and punk. While the band describes its music as “surrealist rock,” the ever-changing rhythms, big dynamics, esoteric guitar effects, and seductive vocals harmoniously coexist and give the material somewhat of a pop sensibility. “Mushroom,” for example, is structurally unconventional, but the distortion heavy minor chord riff combined with Jones’ strong belting establishes an edgy, punk rock attitude. Her sexy vocals string the material together, caress the listener’s ear, and complement spacey, alternative backdrops.
Most songs, however, like “9-5” or “Quixotic Pleasure,” are choppy due to the sporadic songwriting. Refining the transitions between the song sections would create a smoother flow.
Musicianship: Jones attacks her vocal melodies with a punk flair and violently, sometimes gently during the mellow breakdowns, strums her rhythm parts. She could familiarize herself more with her guitar in order to sing more confidently and better engage with audiences. Lopez-Iu’s subtle lead guitar parts and ambient keyboard riffs are played with ease. He could up his volume, though, to balance Jones’ guitar. Harcourt, while a technically sound drummer, could be more assertive with his hits, play simpler beats and loosen up to avoid hiccupping the rhythms.
Performance: The Anti-Job took the audience on a journey through an experimental setlist replete with ominous effects and big dynamics. Jones’ high-pitched vocals and commanding attitude set the punk rock mood, while Harcourt and Lopez-Iu quietly locked in with the choppy grooves. Both Harcourt and Lopez-Iu could have played with more authority to fill the empty spaces in a lot of the songs. “Immature” and “Rain Dance” were missing that bottom end that is evident in the recorded versions. More keyboards or a bass player would give the band more umph.
The set climaxed during the well-written “Joni Mitchell in Love.” Jones’ vocals echoed over a strong acoustic riff and it stood out from the other material. The penultimate song, “9-5,” boasted a catchy chorus and unique chord progression, but veered off course during out-of-place breakdowns. The band fired on all cylinders for the final song “Rain Dance” and escalated to a chaotic, noise filled finish.
Summary: The Anti-Job has a clear vision of how it wants to sound, but the surrealist musical explorations could limit its following. With less adventurous arrangements and more refined songs like “Joni Mitchell in Love,” the band could reach a bigger audience.
– Vincent Stevens