Thursday, May 29, 2014

"all white everything"- jj

In 2009 when they were both coming to prominence, I frequently confused the bands jj and The xx. I know I can't be alone in that confusion because they were almost fated to be blurred together. Both trade in stark, dream-haunting pop. Frequently the only sign of a pulse either have to show is a well-programmed drum sequence. Both groups are "fronted" by vocalists who simultaneously manage to sound self-assured and slowly withering. In reality one of the most tenable differences between the two is that jj exists as a Swedish duo and The xx are an English trio.

But it’s coming up on two years since we’ve heard anything new from The xx, whereas jj are readying their third LP, V. Today the duo offered the first taste of the album with "all white everything". The song begins with Elin Kastlander silently praying as crisp piano trickles in. In such a desolate environment, Kastlander sounds defeated. Her hopes for mending her "restless soul" are dashed when everything a possible companion tells her is deemed "all Greek to me." "I've been up all winter for someone like you and I know that you've been up all winter for someone like me," she exhales in the following chorus. It's a common sort of desperation, hoping someone else feels the same as you so you can justify what seems absurd. Kastlander's desperation only grows as Joakim Benon’s high-strung drum machine dots the barren landscape. At the apex of despair, around the 3:26 mark, she struggles to complete the question "have I said enough?" When you're alone long enough, it becomes much easier to question every decision you've made. 

V drops August 19 through Sincerely Yours/Secretly Canadian.

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