The bone-on-bone drumbeat that opens Dead Zone Boys pounds the sound of living death, creeping forward, maw open wide. The beat is serving notice: you are about to be consumed.
Dead Zone Boys, the third album from Jookabox (Indianapolis-born David "Moose" Adamson and Co.), is love story meets psychedelic zombie-musical. The zombie part came easy: Moose grew up on the east side of Indianapolis in the 90s, an area plagued by constant recession, pandemic homicide, and racial tension. A few strong tribes chose to stay in the area despite constant warnings from fleeing acquaintances. It was this frantic energy and violence that infused itself into the Jookabox experience. Since then, the area struggles to revitalize and Adamson's musical interests and excursions have crystallized into a startlingly singular and eclectic songwriting strategy. One thing is certain here: if vacant strip malls occupied only by shitdragged liquor stores and fluorescent check cashing joints are foreign to you, then Dead Zone Boys will be your guidebook, Jookabox your tour guide. This is more evident now than ever on what is sure to become a cult classic.
Jookabox's debut record, Scientific Cricket, sampled a kind of primordial blues sound, children's sidewalk-chalk rhymes and Appalachian folk. Sophomore follow-up Ropechain pinwheeled like a kaleidoscope through old-time spirituals, punk, and club music hip-hop, blending these disparate elements into a cohesive and unique synthesis. Thematically both albums have dealt extensively with the paranormal, race, and madness. Last year after wrapping up Ropechain, the genre-warping Jookabox lost a Grampall (after a haunting vision), and regrouped, gaining a second member/drummer, Ostry Okerson. This year Jookabox absorbed two-fifths of Indianapolis' psych-pop ringleaders, Everthus the Deadbeats. Led by the stalwart Moose, this new band delivers a tightly realized live show and album replete with nods to early Ween, Black Sabbath, and fellow Indiana native, the King of Pop. Dead Zone Boys is an infectious soundtrack to humanity's last stand against decay and the dead. One hand with mic and the other a shotgun, Jookabox pushes through as troubador and protagonist to free the decayed city and its few outposed survivors of the fear of death. He is our protector, no need to lose hope.