Jaya The Cat

Jaya The Cat

A Good Day For The Damned

Bomber Music

Rating: 4/5




There aren’t many bands out there willing to commit a career to reggae infused ska-punk, but don’t tell that to European regulars Jaya the Cat.  The gruff spoken project of sole remaining original band member and vocalist Geoff Lagadec started its career back in Boston, Massachusetts almost twenty years back, where they took their vocal inspiration from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and made it their own.  To this day Lagadec’s rich and rough vocals are the best alternative to Dicky Barrett outside the continent.  Now on their seventh full length, A Good Day For The Damned, Jaya The Cat returns for an ode to society’s down and out, forgotten and discarded.

Jaya The Cat has always been a band for the underdog, and A Good Day For The Damned is no different.  “Wined Stained Futon” opens as a late night anthem for those that are “just trying to make it through,” as the band paints a scene full of individuals with “more issues than the amount of wine stains than this futon.”  The upstroke-meets-hazy-organ-melody depicts the stumbling mood and foggy consciousness of the morning after a night best buried deep in memory.  While there’s an acknowledgment that these might not be the best life choices, songs like “Sweet Eurotrash” celebrates those “that never get it right,” living in the moment and the moonlight, providing reassurance to nameless figures that they’re “looking wonderful tonight,” even with the “smudged eyeliner underneath the bathroom light.”  They’re the type of themes and morals you probably shouldn’t follow, but are certainly fun to sing along with.

Other highlights includes what can be chalked up as a love letter from Lagadec to his present city of residence.  “Amsterdam” utilizes a hefty dose of personification in attributing the internationally recognized capital with all the traits of a playful tease.  The band offers an insider’s perspective to the city’s mythic nature and all the truths that come with its notorious nightlife.  With references to the bars closing way too early, the band speaks to the life of lady Amsterdam: “now there’s this girl I know, she lives down by the sea, I know I’m not the only one, but sometimes she makes the time for me, then all the fools line-up and she takes their money but she breaks her promises and goes on home alone.”  Admirably, the band avoids stating the song title for all but the final line, but manages to conclude choruses with “I’m your man” just shy of finishing the implied rhyme.

A Good Day For The Damned is one of those meaty albums that serves a full course without a bad taste to speak of.  The album is finely composed and varied, and the style is consistently executed.  Tracks like “Black Heart” and “Wreckage” prove the band’s prowess at catchy mid-tempo tunage, while the title track and “The Streets of Shoreditch” further demonstrate their ability to produce front porch slow burners as well.  Jaya The Cat hasn’t changed all that much over the years, but they have polished up and honed their sound, making A Good Day For The Damned an undeniably infectious offering from one of the genre’s most underrated talents.