A drawing of an ominous grizzly bear clutching a machine gun while gliding through the sky on top of a bumblebee isn’t just promo art for the third The Jolly What! album.
It’s also a description of what the new album, “Surviving the Supervolcano,” is going to sound like.
And if you happen to be at Mojo Main on Friday, Aug. 17, you’ll have the pleasure of hearing the Pike Creek-based indie-rock band’s set, of which bassist Brian Lafferty says the group will preview a number of tunes from the new album, which is slated to drop this fall or early winter.
The Jolly’s will share the bill at Mojo with acts Aunt Artica and The Honey Badgers.
‘Surviving the Supervolcano’
The million-dollar question is how does the promo art for The Jolly’s forthcoming album represent how it’ll sound?
Lafferty says it’s symbolic of his bandmates: Mark Degz (lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar), Matt “Big P” Pulliam (lead and rhythm guitar) and Curt Gibson (drums).
“The image came about when the band was discussing promotional art and trying to visually depict the raucous sound of The Jolly What!” explained Lafferty, 26, of Wilmington, who used to live in Pike Creek.
Lafferty added the illustration conveys “Curt's rapid-fire percussion, Mark and Matt's aggressive, crunchy guitar and Brian's grizzly baselines.”
Originally a duo then a three-piece outfit, the addition of Pulliam (a childhood buddy of Lafferty) has allowed the band to spread its bumblebee-wings and soar to a new place on “Surviving the Supervolcano.”
“We added a blues influence that’s definitely going to come out,” Lafferty said. “One track is straight blues.”
The track is titled “18 Year Old Girls,” a song about “one of the best time periods” in anyone’s life, he added.
But the album’s not completely bluesy. It’s still anchored in The Jolly’s crunchy, home-studio sound as evidenced in “Girl of my Dreams,” inspired by Degz’ wife, said Lafferty, who added, “We can’t escape what we sound like.”
Back to the ‘90s
The Jolly’s paid tribute to ‘90s pop culture with gems like “The Pog Collector” (based on the popular game Pogs, which was played with disks and was essentially the “Call of Duty” of non-electronic games for young boys back in the day) and “Topanga” (the love interest of Corey Matthews from the hit TV series “Boy Meets World”) on its sophomore album “So, You Wanna Be A Quitter?" in 2011.
Page 2 of 2 - With “Surviving the Supervolcano” still in the works, Lafferty said the group is considering slipping in another song themed around a ‘90s TV character, this time from the iconic show “Saved By The Bell.”
“We’re working on putting in a ‘Topanga Part Two’ about Kelly Kapowski,” beamed Lafferty.
What’s significant about Topanga and Kapowski?
“Mark wrote ‘Topanga’ and I think it’s kind of his childhood crush and we all had them,” he explained. A lot of people relate to that.”
The name game
Hardcore Beatles fans have probably recognized the name The Jolly What! isn’t brand new. The guys in the band know this to be true, as well.
The band’s name is the namesake of a compilation record that featured songs from The Beatles and Frank Ifield.
The compilation featured misleading cover art that stated The Beatles’ songs on the record were live, when in fact they weren’t.
Anyhow, Lafferty and Degz thought The Jolly What! would make for a cool band name in 2007, back when they started the group. The name has stuck ever since.