I Love You Jennifer B
UK-based band Jockstrap — made of Black Country, New Road violinist Georgia Ellery and producer Taylor Skye — have been putting out mind-bending electronic music with splashes of personality since their debut 2018 EP, Love Is the Key to the City. With their debut album, I Love You Jennifer B, the band shows an incredible amount of talent; take your pick — neither the vocals, writing, nor sound slacks.
In combining harsh, discordant sounds with Ellery’s pleasant vocals, the band creates a cacophony that, against all odds, works. Not only do they do it within songs, like the slow and suspenseful “Neon” exploding into a barrage of sound, but the tracklist is so varied it’s impossible to predict what comes next. Looking back at the album, it’s insane how the dreamy “What’s It All About?” is on the same record as the bizarre, distorted “Debra.”
It’s interesting that Jockstrap are acutely interested with the concept of cities — not only are their first two EPs named after them, but references to it pop up multiple times in Jennifer B. The narrator of “Debra” promises its listener to take them to the city, and maybe to Koreatown; “I’m not coming to Glasgow, I’ll just see you at the shore,” she laments in “Glasgow”; and “Concrete Over Water” opens with gratitude towards living in the city. “It makes me cry,” she sings, “this European air, I swear it does.” That these songs all sound so different while still revolving around the same concept shows the many different approaches they take to writing — influenced by and producing the soundtrack to city life.
“Glasgow”, a song so momentous and propulsive it takes a place among Kate Bush’s theater and movement-driven tracks like “Wuthering Heights” and “The Big Sky”, is, in a word, remarkable. Competing for the title of Song of The Year, it impresses not only with its writing but sweeping, grand instrumentals, which Ellery sings along to in a way that sweeps you off your feet. In her simple, deliberate writing (“I trust myself, I’m a woman she believes in / I touch myself every time I see what’s missing from my life”), it’s clear she possesses keen eyes and a clever mind. Other moments, too, poke out with sly sexiness — on one of the few decipherable lines on the club banger “50/50”, she admits, “Always trying to assess you / Anything to fuck you.”
Jockstrap is at their most doe-eyed and earnest on the double-hitter love songs of “Greatest Hits” and “What’s It All About?” There are no brash instrumentals or tricks here — these are achingly sweet, lilting songs that showcase another dimension of their personality. On the latter, Ellery laments on a four-year friendship, wishing it to be something more. “I wrote all these songs about you,” she concedes, “Yeah, I think we’d be great together.” On the former, alongside swelling instrumentation, she confesses, “For the first time, I like it when he’s inside.”
Jockstrap have paved their own path in the world of music — bold experimentation paired with spectacular writing skills. There are club bangers in “50/50” and “Debra”, hypnotic tracks like “Jennifer B” and “Greatest Hits”, and total package singles “Concrete Over Water” and “Glasgow.” In bringing out humanity within electronic music, Ellery and Skye strike their own gold.
Purchase I love You Jennifer B by Jockstrap HERE
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