Secretly Canadian

Oct 28, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

For a band whose name and album titles are minimal, JJ traffics in a sound far more expansive. Sure, the title track introducing the album is fairly small in scope, but it gives way to the rolling percussion and strings of "Dynasti" before you know it. This sort of indie pop requires confidence to pull off since it's somewhat commonplace these days and, luckily, JJ is able to walk with their heads held high.

The whole album is tinged just as much by melancholy as it is by hopeful optimism. For instance, "Dean & Me" comes across as a triumphant send-up and rewrite of the Miley Cyrus hit "We Can't Stop." Perhaps it goes to show the unfortunate cynicism of this reviewer rather than any deficiency in JJ's songwriting, but it can be hard to stomach their major-key "listen to this and feel empowered, damn it!" style. Take a song like "Fågelsången." Its lighthearted polyrhythms and wistful vocals are just the right thing for a movie like 2011's The Descendants. Like that film, there's an emphasis on being uplifting, which is just as likely to enchant some listeners as it is to alienate others.

This critique could be applied to a wide berth of current alternative pop music. It can be difficult to appreciate sincerity when it can so easily be interpreted as crowd-grabbing instead. (www.secretlycanadian.com/artist.php?name=jj)

Author rating: 5/10

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