Rugger Bugger (1995)
Where to begin with J Church? I guess I'll start by saying I was never really all that impressed with them way back when. I had Camels, Spilled Coronas and the Sound of Mariachi Bands and I thought it was OK. I went to see them play a show at the Pipeline in Newark, NJ and thought they were pretty good. Over the years I've accumulated about a dozen J Church split 7"s, all bought for the band on the other side of the record. It's not that I didn't like them, but nothing ever struck me as special and there seemed to be a lot of filler.
Let's not even start on how completely freaking intimidating their discography is. I don't know if it would ever be possible to track it all down, so I was content just letting them exist in the background. Then enter my buddy Alan who wanted to learn and play a J Church cover in the pseudo band we mess around with every so often. He sent me the song "Racked." Hot damn what a great song and it totally opened my eyes to the possibility that I've been overlooking these guys.
I picked up Arbor Vitae as it's the album with "Racked" on it. The fact that the vinyl version came out on Rugger Bugger, an all time favorite label, just made it easier to pick up when I was digging around on on Discogs. I can't stress what a great song this is. Chugging palm mutes in the right places, big catchy chorus and even some harmonics in the very brief guitar solo. It's just a blast of sugary 1990's pop punk and I love it. It's the clear highlight on the album, but everything on the record is really strong, especially the A side with "Cigarettes Kill," "Drinking Down" and "Your Shirt" really standing out as killer songs.
This album is certainly not the sort of thing that would make me try to hunt down the entire J Church catalog. I know that's a silly idea with my prior experiences with the band, but Arbor Vitae has opened my eyes and I'm certainly up for checking out some more of their albums if anyone out there has recommendations.
J Church - "Racked":
J Church - "Cigarettes Kill":