Jail Weddings think of themselves as a gang as much as a band, and if you saw them at peak Jail Weddings (around 2011-13, when they were earning best-live-band-in-L.A. plaudits), you’d know why. They lack nothing for swagger, and led by swashbuckling Gabriel Hart, they not only transcended genres but beat them to a pulp. Their sound begged for clever comparisons or appellations (“death doo-wop” was their own), but none seemed to do justice to their bombastic, darkly romantic and provocative songs.
They released their first EP in 2009, a few years after Hart’s Pogues-style punk band the Starvations broke up. Two albums and an EP followed, with 2014’s full-length “Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion” the last major news from the band until this month.
Jail Weddings return Sept. 20 with “Wilted Eden,” the new album that the band says is informed by an ill-fated love affair and, worse, the unexpected deaths of friends. In their noble quest for some sort of catharsis, Jail Weddings throw a lot at you besides their characteristically sharp guitar-bass-drums and vocal harmonies: feedback, Theremin, strings, analog synth and, of course, Hart’s saxophone. The frontman has the desperate croon of a rogue with a heart of gold, and it’s that heartbeat that figures to hold the new album, made with engineer Mark Rains over a 2 1/2-year period, together.
||| Stream: “I Must Keep My Woman Happy” and “(Can’t Wait to Get to) Nowhere”
||| Live: Jail Wedding celebrate their album release with a show Sept. 24 at the Satellite, with Honey Child and Oozelles opening. Tickets.