Like any new band, the Jags have a few formulas that could be ironed out. One, you might imagine, is the sometimes cloying tendency to mould nearly all of their songs into anthems when they really needn't be. Another, perhaps paradoxically, is the band's range. This record is such a perfect serving of contemporary underground rock that its six songs can feel a little calculatedly diverse — a burner here, a floater there, the elegiac and ritualistically epic closer — and genre diehards might resent being treated so formally. Still, that's quibbling. Everyone knows the trade these guys ply was established long ago, yet it's hard not to notice what they're building with these particular tools. It's true the other bands they've played in are numerous and noteworthy, but let's resist the Portland narrative that frames the Jags as a side project or super group. In fact, is it such a leap of faith to invert it? What if all those other projects anticipated this one? Guess we'll have to wait and see if that question survives the hangover.

ENDLESS JAGS | released by Endless Jags | with Rattlesnakes + Contrapposto | at Empire Dine and Dance, 575 Congress St, Portland | Jan 12 |

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