Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B Music Album Reviews

Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B Music Album Reviews
The full-length debut from the shapeshifting UK duo is a virtuosic display of theatrical mayhem, dazzling production, and surprisingly lustrous pop music.

The obsessed performing arts student is one of Hollywood’s favorite clichés. Movies like Whiplash, The Perfection, and Nocturne verge on melodrama, detailing the oppressive confines of classical training to varying degrees of absurdity. Their tortured protagonists meet one of two fates: triumph or crack-up. UK duo Jockstrap sound like they are flailing toward both. Graduates of London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye have made a career of tearing down the academy walls. Their early revolt was scrappy and hardheaded; 2020’s Wicked City EP sounded like two star pupils lashing out, constructing jagged sculptures of string instruments and synthesizers. On their long-awaited debut album, I Love You Jennifer B, they refine their plan of attack. With the help of an 18-piece orchestra, Jockstrap stage elaborate, theatrical scenes atop the conservatory rubble.

Jockstrap’s earliest music was clever but disjointed. Ellery, who studied jazz violin at Guildhall, is the duo’s principal songwriter, and since the release of their first EP, 2018’s Love Is the Key to the City, it’s been clear that she has an advanced ear for pop structure of a certain vintage. In the opening minutes of “Joy,” she invoked the orchestral balladry of Van Dyke Parks and Harry Nilsson before Skye hijacked the song. He stripped it down to a few programmed bleeps and pitched up Ellery’s voice until she wheezed like a helium huffer: “Kiss me, fuck me, make much of me!” On Wicked City, Jockstrap plunged deeper into identity crisis; the songs were more intricate, lurching from gnarly EDM beats to impressionist piano sketches.

The band is still rummaging through a trunk of masks, but the characters in I Love You Jennifer B’s vaudevillian drama have better lines. Ellery stands downstage, discreetly changing costumes as a backdrop rolls in for the next scene. On the medieval dirge “Lancaster Court,” she plays the chamber-bound maiden plotting her escape. Plasticky rattles and whomped war drums jostle a plucked guitar phrase, as Ellery tiptoes from whisper to chapel soprano. On highlight “Greatest Hits,” she reigns as Disco Queen, dripping in sequins and rotating on a motorized bed. As Ellery does Donna Summer-at-La Scala, Skye slips in raygun synths, salt-shaker snares, and piano pulses straight from Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You.” It’s a pop soap opera shot with a smear of Vaseline on the lens. In a pivotal scene, Ellery spoofs celebrity:

Imagine I’m Madonna 
Imagine I’m Thee Madonna 
Dressed in blue 
No—dressed in pink! 
Feather boa, 
Marie Antoinette, 
You wanna know her

“Greatest Hits” is a sublime model of Jockstrap’s future-retroism. It feels opulent but easy to slip into, like a beaded Halston unearthed at a roadside thrift store. It may be draped in cinema strings, but the song is far from stuffy. Ellery and Skye are playing dress-up, nodding to Old Hollywood glamour and discotheque pomp. Their manner of digesting these references makes “Greatest Hits” feel fresh; it winks at the ’70s by way of the ’90s, and it mashes up biblical imagery with 20th-century pop stars and a certain queen of Versailles. The song title scans as wry self-commentary, while Jockstrap’s detailed production adds a contemporary edge and a flash of humor (especially with an incessant chirp that sounds like “baby daddy”). After releasing a pair of somewhat exhausting remix EPs and being diagnosed as “ironic” by a former teacher, Ellery and Skye now prove that they are fully capable of writing lustrous pop music: Even the abstract expressionist can paint photoreal portraits if the mood strikes.

“Glasgow” is actually Jennifer B’s greatest hit. It’s a thumping road ballad driven by acoustic thrums and Ellery’s violin, which arches like a comet. Sweet and rapturous, it is primed for a singalong—the track that could land them a slot at Glastonbury. Even if they are hacking a trail to the festival tents, Ellery and Skye remain freaky. Jennifer B’s best tracks thrust open-hearted melodies to the fringes of madness. “Concrete Over Water,” the album’s high-drama centerpiece, morphs from bedroom confessional to souped-up circus theme. Eerie vocal stabs pierce the song’s perimeter, giving the whole thing a whiff of satanic ritual. On “Debra,” Skye lays down a colossal Bollywood riff, technicolor streamers that sound like they’re shooting from a parade float. With its wavering, distorted mix and scrapbook construction, “Debra” shares DNA with Jai Paul’s glorious “Str8 Outta Mumbai.” The song also contains Ellery’s most concise and poignant lyric to date: “Grief is just love with nowhere to go.”

The album is teeming with sharp turns and fakeouts, but instead of abandoning them as on earlier recordings, Jockstrap loop around to complete each theme. The title track kicks off with clinical key jabs and bizarre spoken interludes (one line, “Shifting about in her goddamn crochet pants staring at God knows what,” is seemingly uttered by a robotic Hank Hill). But the duo build on this creaky foundation, layering processed vocals and a synthesized horn melody. By the song’s end, the landscape looks different, but we can trace the path that led there. On Jennifer B, plot twists play out like a delicious art school scandal. Just when you think these orchestra enfant terribles will stick to their notation books, Jockstrap scurry to the bridge and chuck every page into the Thames.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B Music Album Reviews Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 08, 2022 Rating: 5


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