Don’t you just love it when you find a band just starting on their journey? They’re hoofing it across the country and putting on shows where they leave their hearts on stage – even when the crowds are small enough to count on fingers and toes. They put everything they have into their music and it just shows. You follow the band and keep promoting their music until one day you really start to see them break through that wall. As a fan, that really makes your day. Well, Joint Operators – stay tuned cause it’s going to happen for your boys. I recently got a copy of their debut album, Scuffed, and let me tell you – it’s fire.
They start things off with a bang on a track called E Jam. I found myself repeating this one right off the bat. The guitar work by Ben O’Brien on this one is sublime. Take that with the soulful and powerful vocals form frontman Josh Lewis and you’d think that’s all you’d need for a hit. It doesn’t stop there though. Jacob Nadeau is a beast on the bass and Fabrizio Scotto’s drum work is intense and intricate. The killer here is the background vocals that give the track an atmospheric and haunting melody. Top-notch way to start off the album.
Next up is a funky number called New Boy. Jacob really flexes his skills on this one, making every hip shake and sway. One thing that really impresses me on this one is with the vocals. Fabrizio steps up to the mic on this one a sings his heart out here. What’s even more impressive is him belting it out behind the drum kit. Can’t wait to see it live. After that is their latest single, The Road. Not to sound like a broken record, so this one oozes soul too. The big drums on this one bang all the way through as well. I’m sure many bands can relate to this one too as it chronicles how tough it can be on the road.
Next on the album is Pink Velvet, their second single – released in 2018. This one is a lovely bluesy effort that has been on my playlists for a while and it never gets old. I’m betting you have it on your playlists as well. Fabrizio again steps up to the mic on this one. He blends in so well, at first listen, you may not even notice it’s not Josh singing. This one is followed up by a new song called SFF…this one featuring James Begin of Tropidelic. To be honest, I had to listen to this one a few times to really get it. At first listen, it seemed a little disjointed to me. After a few more spins…..I get it. This is an absolute party song and I can totally see and the whole slew of guests joining the boys on stage. The bass work is fast and furious to match the lyrical flow from Josh & James.
My Thoughts is up next and is a song the boys played for us at a show in my hometown of Omaha a few months back. I remember getting lost in the bassline on this one and it happened again when Josh sent me the studio version. Sublime work Mr. Nadeau. It’s a groovy number with a great guitar solo and great lyrics. A very introspective piece from Mr. Lewis and gives you a bit of an inside look at second-guessing yourself and pushing through that barrier.
This leads us into my favorite of the 3 singles the boys have released. Diner Dub speaks to me – or, my stomach. I too have a weakness for the gluttony of a great diner. For a band on the road, it seems all the boys get to eat is greasy spoon joints. Next time the boys come through your town, maybe bring ‘em a salad or something so they can’t hate themselves a little less. I jest though – the standout on this one is the bass work. Yes – another pattern – but Jacob’s skills on the bass are undeniable. The flow on this seems to weave in and out the entire song without you even knowing it.
The album closes out with 2 new tracks. Who Am I is a bluesy rockabilly type joint that blends into a nice love song. This is another stand out track that has all the right pieces for another single. Closing out the album is the aptly names Blues. Definitely, a bluesy and funky track that properly showcases the strengths of each member of the band. Josh once again flexes his soul in the lyrics, Jacob brings the funk on bass, Ben hits us hard with another great solo, Fabrizio again lays a beat that is intricate and engaging and we get a crescendo at the end that lifts you way up.
With the album starting strong and finishing strong, this is a great debut album from the boys and just a sign of what is to come. Also of note, the production quality of the album is certainly top-notch. They’ve been working on the album for a while and it shows. Mad props to you guys on this one.
Be on the lookout for Joint Operation and definitely catch them when they roll through your town. Join their Joint Operators Facebook group (if you haven’t already) and say hello. The boys are frequent visitors and love to engage with the fans.
1. E Jam
2. New Boy
3. The Road
4. Pink Velvet
5. SFF (feat. James Begin)
6. My Thoughts
7. Diner Dub
8. Who I Am