metz jumperThere’s a lot of tension in the air:  It’s hard to define, but the sense of expectation this evening has been building for some time, and no-one really knows what to expect.   Before I arrived at the Deaf Institute, I confess I was unaware of MetzJumper, and I’m only at the venue that night to actually see the bands (see separate review).

When I first see MetzJumper, the initial reaction is mixed:  I like Jumpers, and grey ones in particular, but there’s other merchandise here that threatens to divert, as posters & albums spill over the table. But greatness lies in the space between, and MetzJumper fill the void around these other things, being both decorative and utilitarian.  But MetzJumper really stand out tonight, and suggests a paradigm shift in the rock-jumper scene – seeming to offer something fresh while still upholding that classic band-sweatshirt tradition.  I’m reminded initially of the Rollins band & Nirvana Hoodies that really defined the genre in the 90’, but MetzJumper have moved things onto another level and embraced everything that has been good about modern material technologies.

As with all great rock jumpers, it’s the unique combination of the individual parts of MetzJumper that set it apart, but at its core are the definitive elements we’ve come to expect with the sweatshirt and flannel shirt scene.

The cotton (Organic? Genetically modified?) , which forms the core of the Jumper, is a classic of fabric production, and brings a maturity and feel to the garment that reflects its roots in the little known “Indus Valley Civilization”.  The interplay of weave and warp is consistent, which suggests a math-rock-tanktop heritage, but there’s something else going on here I can’t quite place: There’s a viscose twist, and hints of thermoplastics or Polyester, with a high tenacity and E-modulus as well as low water absorption and minimal shrinkage that’s seldom seen in comparison with other industrial fibres.

Underlying this is a fleece backing,  with a pile depth which again refers back to the classic half length loop of so many mid-weight, wind-proofed garments .  I can’t tell if it’s knotted, tufted , cord or twist, but it doesn’t matter:   It’s warm, it’s weft –  I want to see more.

Pulling these elements together and providing structure for the whole piece is the stitching:  I’m too far away to see the detail, but I’m assuming it’s a whip stitch or a Merrow Crochet Stitch we’re witnessing, due to the density of the materials on show.  Despite it serving a function,  I know it won’t be pigeon-holed – I decide I need to check this out later.

But it’s not about the cotton, or the Fleece-Linings, or even the stitching which makes MetzJumper great:  On the backstop of the Marl Grey landscape, up front and challenging us not to compromise, are the Graphics:  stream of consciousness graphics that offer a distorted worldview at odds with society, good taste and sensible shoes. I’m thrown into an anti-proustian tailspin:  Graphics of Hands, of headrockets, fishheads,  houses, small animals,  Charles Manson, of oil wells & whales,  and what appear to be mutated genitalia, all rendered in Carmine Red (RAL 3002). It’s an image that leaves women sobbing,  and men defeated.  And it’s in my size.

Post purchase, I realise it’s almost impossible to categorise MetzJumper –  It’s classic but contemporary,  It’s comforting but challenged, It’s loose fit but it makes me look buff.   But it’s probably those contradictions that make it the uncompromisingly brilliant sweatshirt it is, and demands my attention.  Now to find some new boots.