The first thing listeners will probably notice about yesterday’s new EP from Jonfin, “Rocket Science,” is the difference in style.
Leading off with the down-tempo “I’ve Been a Stranger,” the five-song EP immediately shines a spotlight on the band’s range and contemplative nature.
Fans of the sound Jonfin has established over the last year and a half — old-school garage rock with a bouncy, modern alternative flair — are in for a treat as the trio, comprising Jon Wilson and brothers Colin and Ryan Supple, showcases their range as artists.
The songs, written over the last year as the band was navigating a major lineup change, brings them into Jonfin’s next musical chapter.
“This period where we were writing these songs was definitely the most experimental period so far, for not only Jonfin, but just probably like myself as a musician,” lead singer Wilson said. “I don’t think I’ve really ever experimented as much with songwriting or like a different approach to songwriting until this.”
Jon and Colin tackled this set of songs last summer and fall as their bass player moved away. They played for a time as a two-piece band before they were joined by Colin’s brother Ryan.
“I think for me, a really fun part about this EP is it’s the first set of songs I’ve ever had a chance to sit down and record with my brother,” Colin said about Ryan joining the band. “He’s like my main source of musical influence. When I was a kid everything I listened to was because he was listening to it.”
Since it had been tracked earlier this year before the stay-at-home orders, the EP has been on the shelf for a few months awaiting a release show. But with even more new music already in the works, Jonfin decided now was the right time to release it.
“‘I’ve Been a Stranger’ is kind of like a reflection of feeling like you’re a little bit more isolated from people than I used to be,” Jon said. “That disconnection, starting to settle into adulthood. … It’s just kind of a funny feeling.”
While the song is specific to Jon, it’s also a feeling shared by many of us as we look back on the last few months of isolation and look ahead to reuniting with people we’ve lost touch with during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Born & Raised” follows up with a return to Jonfin’s bouncier energy, but it still addresses the internal struggles faced by some in their mid-20s.
“It’s kind of about sometimes feeling like you’re stuck,” Jon said. “Or I guess sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in the same place where I grew up. But then I think about getting out, and I don’t know that I necessarily want to.”
Jon, who had been picking the brains of industry folks to hone his recording skills for Jonfin and his recent solo project Save the Rhinos, used what he learned to record and produce the new tracks.
“At a time like this when not many people are interacting with other people and not many people are able to get into a studio, we just go to Jon’s basement whenever we want and track as many songs as we want,” Colin said. “It’s definitely fun. Like it’s a nice way to get back to something that’s normal. Still even now nothing is really normal, but if you could head to Jon’s basement and just kind of hang out for a couple hours and play music, it seems like nothing is happening outside.”
The new Jonfin EP is available on most major streaming services.