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Jawbreaker Reunion - "Haha And Then What ;)" | Album Review

by Niccolo Dante Porcello (@chromechompsky)

Jawbreaker Reunion’s sophomore LP haha, and then what ;) is an excellent follow up to 2014’s seminal Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club, and is a continuation and advancement of the themes brought forward in that initial effort. The trio, comprised of Bella Mazzetti, Lily Mastrodimos, and Dre Szegedy-Maszak, rip through 9 songs in 20 minutes, relentlessly distorting, shredding, and rocking out.

This is an incredibly fun album to listen to -- it pairs pop-songwriting sensibility with the perfect amount of “fuck you”, and truly could not be bothered to operate otherwise. “Your X” is a scathing indictment of a shitty partner, and also one of the heaviest, best songs to come out of DIY in the past few years. “Patches” is about the juxtapositions that come from being with someone, regardless of your opinion of them: “when you get quiet/ the ringing in my ears gets louder”. “Cosmos” is the infinitely playable single from the album and shows a slightly different side of JBR, as its one of the more orchestral songs in their oeuvre. Its gone far too fast, coming in just under 2 minutes, but when Mastrodimos sings “I count my days in millions” the world just splits in half, bifurcated by the immense power of JBR. Likewise, “Apple” is the kind of song that makes one wonder why there are other songs that aren’t this one – and also why radio pop music is so horrendous.

And haha, and then what ;) is pop in the truest sense, both saccharine and fierce, loud and louder, meant to be compulsively played. “Lakeland” is an anthemic treatise on love, with the ending harmonized and shouted chorus of “I don’t care if I ever see you again/ and if I do I know I won’t remember when” that sits as one of the most cathartic moments on tape. As much as haha, and then what ;) is about letting go of the people in our lives that suck, it is also a celebration of the fact that we can get rid of those people, and there is nothing wrong in taking joy in that purge. Something along the lines of “fuck the haters” is taken as a zeitgeist on the album, and never has it sounded so genuine. This is not to say that JBR’s trauma is a blessing – indeed there are moments on the album that feel painfully intimate from a listeners perspective, but it would be fundamentally different if Mazzetti, Szegedy-Maszak, and Mastrodimos weren’t so incredible at what they do. Few other bands are capable of pairing such significant substance with ear candy. As voices that are powerful, substantial, and proud, ignoring Jawbreaker Reunion is absolutely criminal.