MP3 JJ Magazine - Dinner
Modern British influenced power pop with a dash of shoegaze
10 MP3 Songs in this album (33:46) !
Related styles: POP: Britpop, POP: Pop Underground
The Rock N'' Roll Hall of Fame, Harvey Pekar, bitter winters and pro sports teams of varying quality, has placed a crown of blue-collar cred upon the head of Cleveland, Ohio. For years, that tough theme''s applied to the city''s long-thriving underground rock scene. This town''s had no shortage of two-fisted musical troublemakers hailing from the 70s punk era on down. While not skimping on the toughness that''s part of the Cleveland condition, JJ Magazine''s newest, Dinner, is indebted to drolly joyous pop from either side of the Atlantic.
How did these Cleveland kids come around to such an aesthetic conclusion? Well, a couple of years ago, their debut, Be Happy Love showed a group that loved not only good hooks, but a good puzzle. For JJ, catchy never means simplistic. The chiming guitars and good natured grooves on Be Happy Love possess little compositional ticks and quirks; lead singer Roxanne Starnik''s throaty voice sounded more old-souled than squeaky. Given the several years between Be Happy Love and Dinner, JJ took time to get better at being themselves.
Armed with such new musical abilities, and having built their own studio/laboratory in a Downtown Cleveland warehouse, JJ Magazine honed their sound and songs, taking a Brill-Building-On-A-Budget approach. If Be Happy Love was lunch, Dinner is, well, a hearty dinner. Having no shortage of time to labor over their record, JJ throws in the ear candy. Vocals bounce hither and yon, guitars sparkle, horn sections pipe out, and Glenn McNell''s drums at times sound like they''ve been hitting the gym several times a week.
The end result brings to mind some unnamed connection between 80s bands like the Rezillos, Siouxsie (in more of her Creatures incarnation), and any number of 90s UK combos (Elastica, Sleeper, Echobelly). Songs like "Dollar Coin", and "Simplicity" provides pogo potential for the new wavers. "Be Happy Love" recalls pre-Beatles pop, strings and all. Shoegazy days gone past are invoked in "Theremin" and "Vampires".