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Standout Track: No. 9, “False Idols,” which sublimely weds rock-opera riffage with twee-pop preciousness. Pete Nuwayser’s drums boom, and Greg Bennett’s bass thunders. But Eric Tischler’s guitar is jittery and clean enough for a single on the Sarah label, though the lyrics are less tender: “I died for my sins/But I sinned for you/What good can the truth do you?” Tischler sings.
Musical Motivation: For its second record the trio fearlessly attempts a rock musical, telling the story of a normal American Joe who becomes a suicide bomber. “‘False Idols’ sort of encapsulates the plot,” says Tischler, a 36-year-old Silver Spring resident. “In the first verse the protagonist is visiting his wife from beyond the grave. The third verse sort of describes his death.” So does Tischler support suicide bombing as an expression of dissent? “No. No not at all. Definitely not,” he says. The remainder of the album, in fact, addresses the painful fallout from the bombing.
Meaty Beaty Big and Flouncy: Tischler is careful to note that What Did You Do During the War, Daddy? is not a rock opera. “It’s the soundtrack to a musical,” he says. But he admits a debt to the chief purveyors of the rock-opera form. “I’m self-taught on guitar, and as the years go by I realize how many of Pete [Townshend]’s tricks I’ve internalized. The jazzy chords—you hear that a lot in the Who’s catalog.” But what about all of that ’80s jangle? “I prefer fey chords to macho bar chords,” says Tischler. “If the chords are fey so be it. But I prefer bombastic drums.”
The Jet Age plays the Black Cat Wednesday, June 4.