“True Crime” – Jophus Album Review

Written by on April 7, 2024

Review by Aidan Smith – 

I could write a dissertation on how much the Albany-based emo rock band Prince Daddy & The Hyena has fundamentally changed my life. Having seen them twenty-something times over the last few years, creating life-long memories, and meeting some of my closest friends at their shows, I’ve come to understand that they are far from your typical band. Their albums serve as grand statements for how lead singer Kory Gregory has maneuvered through life, and often, their base of dedicated fans reciprocates those feelings exactly. If you like them, chances are you’re going to love them.

Three years after an announcement, after his laptop with the entire album was stolen on tour, Kory Gregory comes to us with an all-new, solo project under the name Jophus. True Crime, his debut album, released on March eighth under Counter Intuitive Records – an indie record label from Massachusetts.

True Crime is a comforting, eclectic mix of tracks that contain within them much of the raw honesty and clever lyricism the world has come to expect from Gregory. It’s deeply emotional, sardonic but mature, and thoughtful.

Describing this as purely a “rock” album wouldn’t do it justice. The album opener, a personal favorite, sounds like it could be cut off of Prince Daddy’s 2022 self-titled, sure, however four tracks in on “Sine Qua Non,” a sadistically bubbly pop song about a dwindling relationship, the album takes a completely different shape.

Most of this experimentation is pulled off interestingly, Gregory has said this album was recorded amid a heavy Grandaddy obsession – And it shows on tracks like “These Kids,” “All Sorts of It,” and probably the most experimental track on the album “High Roller/ Adult Summers Pt. 3” – A hyper-pop (maybe, hyper-pop inspired) track with a guitar lead reminiscent off of The Sophtware Slump. Gregory’s evolution as a songwriter, a musician, and an artist in the most general sense of the word is fully on display here – It is hard not to be impressed at something, if anything, the leaps in confidence and ability that Gregory displays on True Crime are impressive, to say the least.

Within the album, Gregory revels in discomfort (There aren’t many happy moments in this project) whether wishing somebody the worst on “Drool”- “I hope CPS is there, watching you pull out your hair” – or feeling paranoid and afraid on “Mabank, TX (My Little Predicament)” – “The Jeep parked out on Orchard Street / I think that he’s been following me / We have arguments / I hope she don’t sense the s–t I’m in / My little predicament” – The album revels in these creepy, uncomfortable moments. However, Gregory’s personality shines through and however dark, these songs leave a smile on my face.

The hectic “Johnny Pleeble” is another standout track, a drum and bass-heavy song about a deadly nightmare: “They tried to follow me, gave me the third degree, I think I’ve had this dream, I was stepping on the bridge, it felt like every other night / I don’t want to die tonight, but I’m thinking that I might.”

These songs are decidedly different from Kory Gregory’s pop-punk roots, it’s a step forward – it is awesome to see how far his artistry has come in such a short period. Listening to the first demo of track eight, “When Did You Stop,” and then listening to the redone version for True Crime is indicative of this change – The album is haunting, funny, hectic, relaxing – all of the above.

Hopefully, Jophus does some sort of tour, these songs would translate very interestingly (and very well) into a live setting.

True Crime is a great example of how utter creativity can allow somebody to explore and expand their horizons, there are so many ideas at play – and that alone is a respectable feat, to accomplish it is something truly special. Check it out, or don’t – but maybe?


Featured image from Amazon.com.