ajj hysteria

AJJDisposable Everything

Hopeless Records
Kyle Dehn
Certified Bangers!

With themes of apocalyptic terror and expendability set to searingly charming folk punk, the latest album Disposable Everything from Arizona rockers AJJ is a hard-hitting yet cheerful balm for the madness of the world around.

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Emerging in the mid 2000s, AJJ have consistently been a band to appeal via their earnest storytelling and ability to weave songs about trauma, addiction, existential dread with a near-coquettish shyness into sharp sonic gems that would snugly fit at home on any coming-of-age indie flick soundtrack.

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And while there is plenty of material globally to dip into on their eighth studio album, Disposable Everything furthers the fact that AJJ are not only leaders in their sonic field – they also are firmly in command of the best elements of their entire career on album #8. An undeniable glow up following their 2020 release Good Luck Everybody, an assured blend of all of AJJ’s strengths developed throughout their career and a gentle reminder that the world is a mess but perhaps that’s OK, Disposable Everything is a reflection of pessimism and despair delivered with lush optimism. From the upbeat jaunt of opening track Strawberry (Probably), one of the jangliest takes on collective despair 2023 has seen, to the sprinkling charm of Dissonance, the stripped-back, yarn-soaked Moon Valley High and rollicking and effervescent punk on Death Machine, Disposable Everything flits seamlessly between styles and genre flavours while also firmly detailing humanity’s multi-faceted collapse with lashings of cheer.

For longtime AJJ fans, Disposable Everything will be a welcome return

Soaked in warm pianos and strings, White Ghosts swoons in next with lullaby-esque qualities, before a key standout rolls in via album’s title track, stripping down to an acoustic guitar and the trademark maudlin magnetism of lead vocalist Sean Bonnette that slowly burgeons its textures. From here, the Phoenix-hailing quintet embrace some classic AJJ stylings on The Babt Panda, complete with thriving beats, whimsical melodic runs and affable arrangements that lurch you immediately back to the early and mid 2000s while simultaneously willing you to sing along. Lolling ballads laced with kooky melodic shifts (A Thought of You), sweet refrains coated with occasional saxophones (Candles of Love), quick upbeat gems with thicker textures and fiery guitars (I Hate Rock and Roll Again), whimsical odes to misfortune (Schadenfreude), fuzzy tales of overwhelming infatuation and, penultimately, a seemingly simplistic take on regret set to charming folk instrumentation and enticingly cavorting melodics lead us through to the final moments of AJJ’s latest record. And it’s ultimately on Disposable Everything’s closing track In the Valley that the entire album’s underlying torment and grief finds irresistible resolution; a reflection that sonically provides solace but powerfully flexes vulnerability and underlying sensations of hope despite it all.

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For longtime AJJ fans, Disposable Everything will be a welcome return, with three years between releases that deftly showcases not only how much the world has changed since the band’s release of Good Luck Everybody in the early phases of the pandemic; it also displays a sense of unity, both between the band members themselves and their global audience, and will enamour with its sonic construction, resonate with its hard-hitting thematics and remind us all that despite the lows and upheavals of modern life, there is so much wonder still to be found if we can only stop and seek it. 

STANDOUT TRACKS: Strawberry (Probably), Dissonance, Disposable Everything
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Car Seat Headrest, Crywank, Defiance, Ohio

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