Posted on October 10th, 2022
[as seen on Paste]
The debut record from Brooklyn fuzz-rock four-piece Jobber begins with a bombastic, professional wrestling promo-style threat: “All of you are going down on Hell in a Cell ... you will not have a nice day.” It ends with “Heel Turn”—the band’s final single ahead of the EP’s Oct. 21 release on Exploding In Sound Records, premiering at Paste today (Oct. 10)—and by the time you hear the track in context, you won’t need us to tell you that threat was empty.
The impassioned, storytelling spectacle of professional wrestling is Jobber’s stock-in-trade, as seen on Hell in a Cell’s previous singles, “Entrance Theme” (naturally) and the title track. Yet the band—named for a wrestler who gets beaten to make others look good—use that high-flying fun as a jumping-off point for some seriously thoughtful songwriting, from trenchant commentary on the gig economy to the emotional introspection of “Heel Turn,” a standout on the EP in both concept and sound.
Where other Hell in a Cell cuts are upbeat and riff-driven, with vocal harmonies and sometimes synth figures to brighten the corners, “Heel Turn” is more mid-tempo and moody, as befitting its subject matter. Vocalist/guitarist Kate Meizner matches introspective lyrics with unusually muted singing over Mike Falcone’s thumping drumbeat, even when she and Michael Julius unleash their razor-in-wristband guitars. An explosive solo brings the track to its peak (and, one would imagine, the crowd to their feet), like a finishing move designed to leave bruises.
“In professional wrestling, a heel turn is when the protagonist in a wrestling match succumbs to evil impulses and transforms into the heel, aka the villain,” Meizner explains, continuing:
“Heel Turn” is entrance music for a wrestler’s dark era—for when they snap and commit a heinous act like hitting an old friend with a steel chair, or throwing sand in their opponent’s eyes when the referee’s back is turned. Tonally, the song stands in contrast with some of the more sugary, fuzzy pop songs on the EP, and I was heavily influenced by Failure’s dissonant, spacey leads on “Magnified” and “Fantastic Planet.”
I approached lyric writing in the wake of a tough interpersonal situation where I felt I exhibited some heel-like behavior. Guilt would creep up on me, but I wasn’t in a great head space to rationalize that I just did what was best for me, even if it meant hurting somebody I cared for deeply. The lyrics are simultaneously an act of cathartic admission, an apology, and an exercise in self-forgiveness.
“If wrestling’s most reviled heels can get a redemption arc,” Meizner concludes, “so can most of us.”
Jobber co-founders Meizner (The Glow, Maneka, Hellrazor) and Falcone (Speedy Ortiz, Ovlov), joined by Julius (Flash Trading) and Maggie Toth (Leafing), recorded Hell in a Cell’s four songs (and the aforementioned intro) with Justin Pizzoferrato (Wild Pink, Pixies, Speedy Ortiz) at his Sonelab in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Listen to “Heel Turn” and see Jobber’s upcoming tour dates below. You can preorder Hell in a Cell right here.