Archive for the ‘Buzz Band Weigh-In’ Category

Buzz Band Weigh-In: jj

January 6, 2010

in honor of this week’s buzz band, jj, i feel as though i must adhere to their creative vision and type the weigh-in in lowercase. tourmates of fellow buzz band the xx, they were recently signed to label secretly canadian and will be releasing their second full-length, nÂș 3, on March 9th.

so what is it that makes a buzz band so special? why do they fill blog after blog with everyone’s two cents? i will try to deconstruct the hype by way of three categories: originality, gimmicks, and message. are they attempting a current genre with a fresh way of thinking, or are they latching on to a current trend? are they singing about trite, overdone concepts? i will rate each on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “ridiculously over-rated” and 10 being “deserving of the hype.” scales start at 10 and all negative comments are deducted first. positive comments may then be added to increase the value. scores remain at 10 if all comments are positive, regardless of point values.

second opinion
pitchfork‘s take on the band’s second album is that “it’s a gorgeous ode to chemically-assisted euphoria, or an effective, shimmering simulation for those who keep their intoxications on the legal side.”

definitely trendy (-3): “things will never be the same again” and “from africa to malaga” meander over an eclectic afro-pop backbeat, much like the new tracks on Vampire Weekend’s Contra (-1). the opening bars of “my love” bring to mind the blips and bleeps of the postal service with less of the pop sentiments(-1). almost like sketches of stripped-down portishead demos (-1). vocalist elin kastlander is drowned in so much reverb (-1) she has essentially created her own boys’ choir of harmonies (+1). in terms of the whole package, jj does have a unique sound (+3). kastlander’s voice is interesting (+1) and recognizable (+1), but limited in terms of range (-1).

“ecstasy” is an ambient wonderland that takes off on lil’ wayne’s “lollipop.” by reworking an immensely popular single, they are then heard by atypical fans searching for the original track, boosting their “plays” or “listens” without much promotion (-5).

the lyrics hit home and make you think (+3). ruminations on life and love are typical (-1), but lines like “the ship will still sail on long after i’m gone” show deeper thought processes at work (+1).

buzz band rating: 23 (out of 30)
not necessarily deserving of the hype but not a terrible band by any means, jj will have plenty of time to hone their sound with a new album in the works and a 2010 tour on the way.