The MetroWest Daily News

The MetroWest Daily News

"Man, can you dig it?"

The Jumblies enjoy local success with sophomore CD
By Jennifer Lord

The Jumblies are hanging out at a Framingham Starbucks, waiting for their lost guitarist, when electric violinist Clara Kebabian gets a bright idea: Why not offer up their new EP?

After all, “Catch It If You Can” is hot off a successful launch – so successful they had to print up extra copies just to give them away at their launch party. It’s getting airplay on RadioMax, a French Internet radio station ( and there’s no denying that there’s indie buzz.

But the Starbucks barista has to turn down the offer – it seems that while Starbucks is very much into music, the store’s soundsystem is specially coded so it can only play its own recordings.

“Anyway, it’s been a great ride so far” says Wayland resident Clara Kebabian enthusiastically, as she returns to the table where lead singer Katherine Park Deakin of Westborough and drummer Goss (“Just one name, like Madonna”) are talking about life in the Boston music scene.

The Jumblies have been in existence for the past five years, with an ever-changing lineup centered around guitarist Mark Heng _ who is wandering lost somewhere down Rte. 9. Kebabian joined up two years ago, after meeting Heng, a comercial artist, while he was doing caricatures at a function for her company. Yes – Kebabian is a neuroscientist in the biotech industry by day, electric violinist by night.

“It’s very cool,” Deakin says.

“It sounds so cool,” adds Goss.

“I’m glad we can all agree,” Kebabian says with a laugh.

“Really, you play Bach, you play Beethoven, you do some modern stuff when you play the violin. But this is a bit more improvisational in a group – you wear funkier clothing, get to rock out. And it’s not the same old thing all the time.”

“Not the same old thing” describes The Jumblies music-stylings, which they describe as “alternative-rock-indie.” They’ve been compared to the Pixies and Garbage and the early ’90s Boston band Tribe.

“The stuff we’re working on now is very collaborative,” says Deakin, by day a makeup artist and voice coach. “This incredible stuff just started coming out.”

Deakin has been with the group since last summer, joining after graduating from The Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. After a couple of auditions in the area, she found the right musical mix in The Jumblies.

“I’ve always been a singer, even in Westborough.” Deakin says. “Westborough has an awesome music program. I was very lucky there.”

Heng finally arrives, a little winded from his search for the elusive Starbucks. The rest of the group starts to fill him in when he suddenly slouches over in his seat, lifts the collar of his jacket up over his face and makes it obvious that he’s spotted someone he’d rather not see.

It makes conversation a little difficult.

Heng started the band back in 1999 after stints in other bands. He thinks of the band’s sound as similar to early ’90s alternative pop and he starts a faux-intelectual monologue: “We’re trying to come to an altered state of consciousness through music, man.”

The rest of the group laughs as he continues.

“Think the Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, The Cure – well not quite so much.”

He stops again as a rather nondescript man stops by the table and greets him with “Hey, it’s the Jumblies!” Heng sits up and stops with the avoidance pose. “I should have just said hello,” he mumbles.

Originally from Malaysia, Heng moved to Colorado then came to the area to attend Boston University, where he got hooked on the Boston music scene while listening to late night college radio.

“Catch It If You Can” is the band’s follow-up to the 14-song “By the Light of the Blue Moon.” Postitive response has The Jumblies booked through most of the month of May, with shows planned Saturday at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, May 6 at the Westborough Knights of Columbus, May 7 at Spontaneous Celebrations in Jamaica Plain, May 13 at Copperfields in Boston and May 14 on Wrentham TV. They’re also in the lineup for the Renewable Energy Festival in Beverly on June 19.

“The cry of love, the sound of freedom – that’s what it’s all about.” Heng says. “That’s exactly what we’re trying to make happen, man, can you dig it?”

(Jennifer Lord)

Lord, Jennifer. “‘Man, can you dig it?’ The Jumblies enjoy local success with sophomore CD.” The MetroWest Daily News [Framingham, MA] 24 April 2005: C1, C10. Print.