JR JR | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Warner Bros.

Sep 30, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Daniel Zott and Josh Epstein of JR JR (formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.) are a uniquely in-sync duo with killer skills for making inventive, unexpectedly great indie pop; albums like 2013’s The Speed of Things had Beach Boys-esque levels of ambition and a handful of catchy hits. But until recently they were probably best known for having a silly band name. So, perhaps shedding the four-year-old moniker for something sleeker was a good ideait’s a sign of the pair’s ongoing musical maturation, and the newly self-titled album is an introduction to their new band identity. But they sum up their new direction pretty succinctly on “Phillip the Engineer”: “I don’t wanna kill the vibe/or burst your bubble/but time makes grown-ups out of kids.”

But don’t fret. JR JR is still loaded with plenty of guilt-free pop bangers. “James Dean” and “Hypothetical” are immediate standouts, while the tellingly titled “Listening to Outkast, June 23, 2013” is a surprisingly slinky jam. But as the album wears on, the unabashed whimsy that was once deceptively enjoyable and stealthily clever dissipates only to be replaced by forced attempts at upbeat fun. JR JR is by no stretch a boring record, but the joy is being doled out in more responsible measures this time around. (www.jrjrmusic.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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