No matter how hard The Static Jacks try, both sides of the Westfield, N.J., band's intriguingly split personality come out.
It's on display on their impressive debut “If You're Young” (Restless), where they bounce between hard-hitting Replacements-styled rockers and sweet, angular retro pop.
Smartly, in concert, they concentrate on the former. Their CMJ showcase last night at The Studio at Webster Hall was brilliant, roaring through the tougher half of their catalog at a breakneck pace.
The tight quarters on stage, made their show seem that much more intense, as singer Ian Devaney bobbed and weaved through the openings between his bandmates to occasionally flail his arms and pump his fists. The opening one-two punch of “Defend Rosie” and “Girl Parts” – which mirrors the album's sequencing – was a pure adrenaline rush, complete with Devaney's wild sign-waving. The band's gang vocals, especially on “Blood Pressure,” made them look (and sound) like an angry mob.
The Static Jacks have a softer side – best seen in “If You're Young”'s adorably geeky “This Is Me Dancing,” perhaps the band's best song, and the pretty, upbeat makeup song “Sonata.”
They tuck it away in their shorter sets, but their sweet side still shows – in the way guitarist Henry Kaye breaks into a wide grin when they bust into a bit of The Cure's “In Between Days” during “Mercy, Hallelujah” and the way Devaney sweetly says, “Thanks, guys” between songs.
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It all added up to one of the festival's best showcases and should put them on a whole bunch of new “Ones to Watch” lists.
SETLIST: "Defend Rosie" / "Girl Parts" / "Blood Pressure" / "Walls" / "Mercy, Hallelujah"/ "Relief"/ "My Parents Lied" / "Into the Sun."
Photo: The Static Jacks are, from left, Ian Devaney, Nick Brennan, Michael Sue-Poi, and Henry Kaye.