Over the past 12 years, Jason Henn has been writing and recording compact and catchy lo-fi pop songs under the moniker of Honey Radar. Now without his band mates, Jazz Pigs In High School is Henn’s first solo record under his own name. Like most solo records, Jazz Pigs In High School separates itself from Henn’s Honey Radar material – but just barely.
This should excite long time followers because this collection of tracks is a home recorder’s delight and contains a good mix of experimental trials with complete songs. Henn throws out any rules he had before and completely just lets his mind run wild here. Some great examples are when you get the 43 second pop nugget in “Medical Bag,” that is divided into 20 seconds of noise with 20 seconds of vocals and a good riff. The instrumental “Pauline Conrad’s Trip Around the World” is just waiting for some lyrics but still sticks with you as its guitar strums along in a likable hum. The noisy over 5 minute rocker, “Davy Jones:Situationist” creates a hazy cloud of distortion as Henn’s vocals calmly tread above the static. Then the closing over 12 minute “Campus Life (National Day Of Service)” not only is almost half the album in length but clearly is a marathon compared to previous Jason Henn material. It has a very Sonic Youth noise factor to it that ebbs and flows with fuzz and just features a guitar playing off in the distance under the clatter. It is a surprise ending and one that makes perfect sense for this album and Jason Henn standing alone.
If you enjoy any type of home recordings, Jazz Pigs In High School will find a place in your ear. At 30 minutes, it is an in and out experience but its magic is how the tracks blend together and Henn creates one piece of art. The noise, the pop, the guitar, and the sparse vocals all make this outing a win for Jason Henn as Jazz Pigs In High School only gets more fun and more interesting with every spin!
Key Tracks: “Carriers” / “Press Agent Froth Jo Roo” / “Kimono Photoshoot”
Artists With Similar Fire: Chris Knox / Robert Pollard / Flying Saucer Attack
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde