Connan Mockasin: Jassbusters (Mexican Summer) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Connan Mockasin


Mexican Summer

Oct 15, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Connan Mockasin has never been much of a classifiable dude. He’s lived in various cities, including New Zealand’s Wellington (his “hometown”), but also London, LA, and most recently, Tokyo. He’s also built a huge resume of artists he’s supported: Radiohead, Charlotte Gainsbourg (perhaps referred to in the song “Charlotte’s Thong”), Fat Boy Slim, Neil & Liam Finn, MGMTthe list goes on. He’s certainly been around the world a few times.

On his new album, Jassbusters, Mockasin ventures into expanding R&B territory, with tracks that range from the lengthy and aforementioned “Charlotte’s Thong” to the bizarre and slippery “B’nD”a song inspired by a five-part film series called Bostyn ‘n Dobsyn, which Mockasin wrote, directed, and starred in alongside his childhood next door neighbor. This film series, about a music teacher and student, in turn, inspired the majority of Jassbusters, and therefore the record is regarded as a “concept album.”

All of the tracks on Mockasin’s third album are groovy to a varying degree, and all feature Mockasin’s falsetto voice on sparingly full display. Mockasin’s voice fluctuates between the soft R&B whisper of James Blake (who appears on the Jassbusters track “Momo’s”), to the loose-lips of Mac DeMarco and the reserved soulfulness of a street performer cast in the moonlight.

The stats for Jassbusters are rather impressive. Recorded in just a week, the record is Mockasin’s first in five years and his first album to feature a backing band. His previous two releases, Caramel (2013) and Forever Dolphin Love (2010), were met with wide acclaim; Jassbusters, however, takes a step into some even more alternative territory.

“Last Night” begins with some odd sound effects, the long-distance sound of the soon-to-be-hi-fi song played amidst dialogue between, presumably the titular characters of the five-part series. The song itself sounds like something out of a dimly lit jazz club, with Mockasin’s voice cutting through with angular precision.

First single, “Con Conn Was Impatient,” paints a picture of a hollow longing, surreal and love-struck like a lot of Mockasin’s work. Mockasin’s voice, again, draws the listener in with more efficacy than a stringed instrument ever could. His voice cracks with vulnerability, lodged between love and longing.

The final album track, “Les Be Honest,” is moody, despite its indecipherable lyrics. With a choir backing, the song fades into a subaquatic level of punctuation. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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