There’s an old trope you might hear tossed around by the occasional senior: “You can’t do a thing about yesterday, you can do very little about tomorrow, so might as well get after it today.” If you find yourself drowning in 90s grunge vintage fetishist acts, repeating this mantra to yourself may save your life, (or at the very least, your eyes from rolling out of your head at a live music venue!) The phenomenon of bands doing their best to ape the sounds of yesteryear can be overwhelming for a young person, and a bit draining for those who were actually there.
Now stop for a moment and imagine the strength it would require being one of Vancouver’s premier fuzzy power trios, The Jins, an act keeping that era’s musical textbooks on the shelf for the occasional reading, but not trying to re-write those books. The Jins are an impressive, buoyant bunch, a description that they immediately live up to in their live show and their ridiculously reliable record releases. The group (Ben Larsen, Hudson Partridge, and Jamie Warnock) have managed to hack it in a city with an incredibly rich six-string history, but has an economic situation that has about as much room for artists as it does for detached houses… and that’s worth a full sheet of gold stars.
In a big blue house on the eastside of Vancouver, the Jins were born. Now, whether you consider the birth date of a band their first show, or the day they decided on their path, it doesn’t matter, because it all happened in that blue house. 2014’s Hallowe’en show was a tentpole for that early sound, and if you don’t know Vancouver, shows almost never happen in houses there. The city breathes a heavy lung full of NIMBY behaviour, so kicking off their journey by cold-rocking the neighbourhood is the way to become the stuff of legends. “I settled on The Jins as a name because of all the pigeons I saw around Vancouver,” states lively frontman Ben Larsen, reminiscing about those early days. “I always thought that pigeons were a great metaphor for the way I lived at the time, like sleeping in random places and eating garbage and just generally not respected by anyone, but still a part of the urban landscape, just hanging around everywhere, dwellers of the seedy underbelly of society rejected by the general public but ubiquitous in the city. Pigeons are also really misunderstood creatures and don’t really deserve how they’re viewed, They’re monogamous and seem to have a sense of caring for their loved ones and I think there’s a really strong sentiment to that, I’ve always been a sucker for love songs so that’s how I came about the name.”
Perhaps if Vancouver’s closest city wasn’t a harrowing seventeen hour drive through the Rocky Mountains, and the powers that run the borders to the south didn’t stop music from being shared and toured freely throughout Cascadia, the British Columbia city would be like everywhere else: up to her underboob in bands doing their best cosplay of the 90s. However, The Jins are a wonderful product of managing to create something fantastic out of an tough situation. They come from a city where only the plucky survive, and their output, whether it’s the upcoming release, or being one of the most beloved seven inches released on Kingfisher Bluez, is melted down, purest Vancouver. They are resilient, they are beautiful, they are melancholic, and they are unique. Compare them to their contemporaries all you wish, but just know that The Jins are their city’s heroes of jangle and fuzz, and will be coming to yours soon.