Way back in 2001 when I was skinny and trying to find my way in the world, I used the freedom of my student loan to buy books and music and clothes. Really, that was my entire existence. Through these things and the newness of college, I was able to become…me, or a version of me that I quite enjoyed. Of course you can’t totally get away from yourself so I still felt a real distance between myself and everything else. I call this going cold. I was sociable and fun, friendly and popular. Then distant and surly, wanting to be with the one person who really understood me: yes, me. I enjoyed wandering about bookshops, trying to find new worlds. Likewise, I hunted for new music every day. During this period, I read a lot of magazines. 2000AD. Doctor Who Magazine. And, of course, Kerrang. That’s how I found Snake River Conspiracy. 2001 was ruled by Sonic Jihad. It was everything I’d ever wanted in an album, they were everything I’d ever needed in a band.
Sonic Jihad (a title that wouldn’t happen today) is the missing link between Curve and Garbage. This album belongs with Version 2.0 and Come Clean. From Breed (which builds up slowly, quietly, until Tobey shreds her throat and your ears with her screams), to You And Your Friend (a song Britney could take to the top of the Billboard Chart), and even a Smiths cover (a cracking version of How Soon Is Now approved by Morrissey), via the jingle-tasting Somebody Hates You, this album is a journey. There’s even a wonderful cover of The Cure classic Lovesong. It still works for me even now. I’m listening to it as I type.
I don’t know what happened to this band. They should have been massive. Tobey always read well in interviews (her mission to stamp out ‘weak chick shit’ was something I approved of) and Jason clearly knew his way around a good hook. They vanished. Rumours of a falling out were never far away from music fora. It’s a shame, but maybe that’s what helped make this album so significant, or a lost classic at least. If you can buy it, do so. Then tell your friends and family about it. Everyone should listen to Sonic Jihad at least once in their lives. It never leaves my iPod and I doubt it ever will.