The inevitability of most bands breaking up is an inherent element of any music scene, and it can be heartbreaking when a band you’ve come to respect decides to call it quits. Such was the case when Overfield broke up a year and a half ago. I’d played a handful of gigs with the band, watched them grow as musicians, and really felt that they had a promising future together. As I covered in a previous review, that wasn’t the case.
Jam Traffic’s self titled EP has caused me to reconsider my negative position on bands breaking up. The recent release by Jam Traffic shows that something great can come out of a band’s demise. Tony Nicosia, Tristan Jones, and Alphonse Campanese were all in Overfield, but Jam Traffic is by no means a retread of that band’s indie/alternative sound. Jam Traffic successfully establishes a new persona that is more polished and groove oriented than their previous endeavors; almost like the offspring of Phish, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Bravery.
The track, “Neighbors” opens with a very distinct and driving bass part by Tristan Jones. During Tristan’s tenure with Overfield, I always recognized him as an incredible bass player, but the more dance floor-oriented sound of Jam Traffic allows him to really show his skills. Despite the fact that Jam Traffic has only been officially a band for less than a year, their compatibility is evident.
None of the tracks on Jam Traffic’s first album are longer than four minutes, but it seems like they have some love for jam bands — especially guitarist Alphonse Campanese. His guitar playing is smooth, and has shades of Trey Anastatio, Nels Cline, and Kurt Vile. His tone is especially crisp on the album’s opening track, “Better Days”.
Overall, Jam Traffic’s EP is a fun piece of music that is both danceable and cohesive. The three tracks on the album all work really well, but I would have liked to see what Jam Traffic could have done with a longer album. Like the recent release from The Jumping Juvies, Jam Traffic’s album was recorded by Mike Lewis. The interconnectivity of Jam Traffic, The Jumping Juvies, and Larry Nodder can’t help but make me feel very hopeful for the future of the Philly music scene. It will be very interesting to see what piece emerges next from this interconnected collective of musicians.