‘I Love You Jennifer B’ — Jockstrap’s debut is a colorful kaleidoscope of sound
It is difficult to classify or categorize “I Love You Jennifer B,” the debut album from UK duo Jockstrap, as it refuses to fit into any one genre of music. The songs are sporadic, evolving over the course of their lengths like colonies of bacteria. But at the same time, there is a sense of cohesion across the track list that ties everything together. Producer Taylor Skye’s colorful production compliments singer Georgia Ellery’s expressive vocals and string arrangements to create an album unlike anything else released this year.
Opening track “Neon” begins with a simple acoustic guitar, providing a false sense of normalcy before pummeling listeners with distorted electric guitars, piano arpeggios and an absolutely righteous hook. This is just a taste of the sounds Jockstrap explores throughout the album.
“Greatest Hits” is a dancefloor-ready song that could have come straight out of the ‘80s. Lush strings, glittering synthesizers and a pulsing piano meld perfectly together to create a vibrant soundscape. There is a special moment where Ellery sings, “Imagine I’m Madonna,” in such a way that for a second, you believe it.
Ellery’s vocals shine once again on “Concrete Over Water,” a highlight among a track list full of highlights. She recalls a moment standing on a bridge with an unnamed person, likely a former lover, while conjuring images of a quiet, nocturnal cityscape. Effortlessly gliding in and out of a tear-jerking falsetto, she delivers the best vocal performance of the album.
Despite how much sonic ground “I Love You Jennifer B” covers, every song is tied together by a strong sense of loneliness; a longing for someone Ellery can’t have. Nowhere is this feeling stronger than in “What’s It All About?” where she sings, “Hurting is one thing, but waiting’s another.” In this sense, the song “Lancaster Court” represents a turning point. Ellery realizes it is better to live for yourself than to rely on others. “Just keep moving forward,” she repeats. On the glitchy club closer “50/50,” she understands changing will be a difficult process, but her new mindset is a good first step.
“I Love You Jennifer B” is a kaleidoscope of exciting and innovative pop music. Taylor Skye and Georgia Ellery have successfully demonstrated their creative prowess and knack for excellent, albeit cryptic, songwriting. For fans of a little bit of everything, you won’t want to miss this.
Jockstrap’s ‘I Love You Jennifer B’ is an avant-garde fusion of electronic and acoustic
Despite only being a group since 2018, Jockstrap already seems on its way to being a name stay in the world of music. This comes from the unique sound and boundary-breaking experimentation that is the backbone of their first album, “I Love You Jennifer B.” The project is superb in emphasizing Georgia Ellery’s vocal prowess and Taylor Skye’s skillful electronic production to create a masterpiece that has all the signs of perpetuity.
The album starts subtly with “Neon” but has immediate displays of high-quality vocals and experimental production. The track has dark, haunting chords with an overall eerie feel, while the tenor of the song rises and drops with contrasting empty and full sections. Both acoustic and electric guitars are integral while the highly processed drums give the track a heavy feel. The haunting, almost sonically uncomfortable mood continues in the second track “Jennifer B,” though this resolves to a catchy, enjoyable chorus with a memorable violin melody.
The third track “Greatest Hits” is more upbeat with a piano melody that gives off a hopeful yet still sonically ambiguous tone. Both the previous track and this one have themes of romance, and wanting to observe the world through a lover’s lens. The sound transitions from hopeful to more melancholy on “What’s It All About?” which highlights the pain of a love slipping away. During my first listen, this was my favorite song up to this point — a slow, beautiful tune.
However, my favorite track on this album by far is the fifth song, “Concrete Over Water.” With Ellery’s impeccable vocals floating above soft, mystical chords, it encapsulates the beauty of music. The song is a reflection on love and life, briefly transitioning into a driving phase before returning to the motif of the intro. A momentary cut to an acoustic, unmixed section of the chorus captures the piece’s raw emotion. Ellery’s sweep into the higher register while singing the line, “Grateful for the night” is one of the most memorable parts of any song I’ve heard.
The next two pieces have largely different feels, displaying Jockstrap’s juxtaposition of sound both from track to track and in various sections of the same song. The eighth track, “Glasgow,” is another slower number that, similar to “Angst,” starts with a mysterious melody on a plucked instrument. The penultimate song has a somewhat unsettling and fast-paced sound with some orchestral components, while the final track wraps the LP up with an electronic mix that blends elements from several genres.
This album is full of interesting, experimental tracks that give a huge amount of variation in the listening experience. By combining acoustic and electronic elements so uniquely, it is almost impossible to label it with any predetermined genre. Instead, Jockstrap seems to be forging its own path, with “I Love You Jennifer B” being an unforgettable intro to their musical journey.