Filed under: Issue 21, Issue 21 Reviews | Tags: jj, jj n° 2, minimalism, piano, Sincerely Yours, Tough Alliance
Part of our ISSUE 21 coverage!
PREVIEW: Visit jj’s Last.fm
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts
Just when you think Sweden, the country famous for Ikea and Volvos (not to mention ABBA), had finally exhausted its reserves of breezy, tropical pop jams, another band comes out of left field to sweep your heart away again. Such was the case with jj last year, a curiously anonymous act signed to Tough Alliance’s label, Sincerely Yours. Their debut, jj n° 2, won them worldwide exposure last year, even though no one knows who they are yet.
The eccentricities continue on their new album, jj n° 3. It opens with “My Life,” a minimal, piano-driven song with lyrics bitten directly from The Game’s song of the same name and ATC’s cheesy dance pop classic “Around the World,” before blasting into the mid-tempo island foray “And Now.” It’s a heck of a way to break into an album, and you can’t shake off what you’ve heard until the harmonica howls of “Let Go” creep into your skull. The rest of the record follows suit, bubbling up with shimmering synth washes and reggaeton drum kits alongside light guitar riffs, and the incredible voice of jj’s enigmatically unknown female singer.
By the time you can get a handle on what you’re listening to, the whole thing’s finished. A picture of minimalism, the album clocks in at just under a half-hour, never lingering on one idea for too long, but always sucking you deeper into its sun-soaked melodies. Just be careful to swim parallel to the shore. You wouldn’t want the riptide pulling you out to sea.
— Dan Creahan