I Love You Jennifer B

Jockstrap

I Love You Jennifer B

London duo Jockstrap first gained attention in 2018 with an almost unthinkable fusion of orchestral ’60s pop and avant-club music. On their debut album, conservatory grads Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye continue to push against convention while expanding the outline of their sui generis sound. Skye’s electronic production is less audacious this time out; I Love You Jennifer B is more of a head listen than a body trip. There are a few notable exceptions: The opener, “Neon,” explodes acoustic strumming into industrial-strength orchestral prog; “Concrete Over Water” violently crossfades between a pensive melody reminiscent of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and zigzagging synths recalling Hudson Mohawke’s trap-rave. But most of the album trains its focus on guitars, strings, and Ellery’s crystalline coo, leaving all the more opportunities to marvel at her unusual lyricism. Her writing returns again and again to questions of desire and regret, and while it can frequently be cryptic, she’s not immune to wide-screen sincerity: In “Greatest Hits,” when she sings, “I believe in dreams,” you believe her—never mind that she’s soon free-associating images of Madonna and Marie Antoinette. And on “Debra,” when she sings, “Grief is just love with nowhere to go” over a cascading beat that sounds like Kate Bush beamed back from the 22nd century, all of Jockstrap’s occasional impishness is rendered moot. At just 24 years old, these two are making some of the most grown-up pop music around.

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