Million Miles of Trouble (Independent)
One of the sad realities of life is that it’s impossible to remain pissed off at the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes it’s okay to let a little sun shine in, which seems to be the overriding philosophy of Jason & the Diatonics.
The band’s name brings to mind one of those ’70s new-wave groups where everyone wore square sunglasses and pink zebra-skinned pants. What you get on Million Miles of Trouble, though, is a bright-eyed and easygoing mix of coffee-house folk and acoustic pop, anchored by the confident vocals of singer-guitarist Jason Poulsen. The dude comes off like a man who’s never had a dark day, and his attitude is infectious. Even if you’ve been down in the dumps ever since your unemployment insurance ran out, your budgie died, and your girlfriend ran off with that roadie for Theory of a Deadman, it’s hard not to feel a little better about life by the end of the record.
That’s another way of saying that there’s lots to like here. The band gets bonus points for stretching itself artistically, as on the elastic-jazz strut of “Till the Day” or the piano-adorned lounger “Everything Will Be Fine”. The latter finds Poulsen singing “Life will make you go crazy if you take it all so seriously.” Those are words to live by, no matter how much you currently might be sitting alone with a 40-pounder of Jack in the dark, bitterly doing your best to resist all the urges that make you want to go out and kill.