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Jockstrap - I Love You Jennifer B (Album Review)

Thursday, 15 September 2022 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Eddie Whelan

It is possible to build an exciting, long-lasting career in music from one really good idea. Just ask AC/DC or the Ramones. It’s when they start to pile up that things can get dicey—if you assemble a thousand ideas for one record, there is a good chance that quite a lot of them won’t be up to snuff. That makes Jockstrap’s debut LP ‘I Love You Jennifer B’ a remarkable achievement.

The duo—producer Taylor Skye and songwriter-vocalist Georgia Ellery, who also plays in Black Country, New Road—are tearing at the seams with ideas, and are consistently able to pull the rug out from beneath the listener’s feet by pairing adroit, outwardly pop melodies with bizarre textures and challenging electronics.

The opener, Neon, is perhaps a perfect summation of the duo's double-edged appeal. It is both formally out there and traditional in its use of a languid, emotionally resonant hook.

The rush of information can be a little overwhelming at times, particularly on the first couple of spins, so Ellery’s melodies are a little like depth charges—they gradually sink in before exploding once you have your head around them. 

‘I Love You Jennifer B’ is also a handy ally for the argument that pop music is capable of housing genuine weirdo shit without losing its essential pop-ness. Greatest Hits hosts brutalist synth smashes and some fairly annoying samples—deliberately so, perhaps—but leaves the impression of Soul II Soul and the Carpenters arm in arm. It’s a special song, but doesn’t necessarily stand out in such a strong field.

Jockstrap will almost certainly be tarred with the muso-hipster brush but their music has the capacity to cut deeper than that tag suggests. There are a lot of confrontational bells and whistles here, but an equal number of refrains that might have belonged to great songs of any era or style.

Jockstrap Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu September 29 2022 - EDINBURGH Mash House
Fri September 30 2022 - GLASGOW Stereo, Glasgow
Sat October 01 2022 - MANCHESTER White Hotel
Mon October 03 2022 - LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Tue October 04 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Hare And Hounds
Wed October 05 2022 - BRISTOL Fleece
Fri October 07 2022 - NORWICH Norwich Arts
Sat October 08 2022 - BRIGHTON Patterns
Mon October 10 2022 - LONDON Village Underground
Tue October 11 2022 - CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach
Sat February 11 2023 - SHEFFIELD Foundry

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