jj – jj n° 4
While Europe burns, Sweden snorts blow.
Having drafted my grovelling letter of apology to the Swedish ambassador I would like to state that the new single/EP from indie pop act jj on Gothenburg’s Sincerely Yours, like most of their material, is truly of another place, but not a place oblivious to everywhere else.
First track ‘Beautiful Life’ is a stoner tune, post-breakup song and euphoric ode to the acceptance of life, love and the way that one can continue without the other. It’s Balearic indie pop in a similar vein to their previous releases but captures the essence of everything they’ve recorded up until this point.
jj have a knack for making the cheesiest lyrics poignant. “I’m so in this bitch / See me glow in this bitch / Blowing dro in this bitch / Doing blow in this bitch / So tell my ex / I’m too high / He’ll never get over me.” I know, I know. But in context it’s not only charmingly naïve but completely aware of how it sounds. jj’s appropriation of hip-hop elements has always been a warm addition and you only need to look as far as their “re-imagining” of Lil Wayne’s ‘Lollipop’ on jj n° 2‘s ‘Ecstasy’.
B-side ‘Burn’ is a piano ballad washed away by the tide and the sea’s night breeze. It’s sweet and the previous track was always going to be a hard act to follow, but it works on the dynamics of Elin Kastlander’s vocals driving through the dense atmospherics of the production.
If at first it sounds that whatever is going on in jj’s world is different to what’s going in the rest of the continent I suppose it should be understood in the same way that comedy is appealing during wartime. But jj n° 4 isn’t detached from everything else, it’s just looking from the vantage point of the oldest part of youth — knowing and cynical but still wide-eyed.