Back in February I got the opportunity to cover the upcoming release of Jean Jacket’s first LP. At the time there was some legitimate buzz and hype around the release. So when I got a chance to review it, I couldn’t let it pass me by. Unfortunately, like most things nowadays that are over hyped, ultimately they never live up to expectations. The Jean Jacket LP though, doesn’t meet even the smallest of these expectations. The are tracks on this record that don’t even deserve to appear on a b-side. All this culminates into a record that quickly fades from memory and any lingering thought that remains leaves a sour taste.
“Super Party Cups” is the best track on the record by a mile and in some ways feels out of place. This is because of how the rest of the tracks don’t even come close to it in terms of overall production and polish. The track begins with a pulsating blend of sub bass and crunching drums. In the background guitars squeal behind the bed of sounds. The verse slowly transitions into the chorus, which hits all the right notes with a towering vocal that shines and dissonant tones that echo in the background. The track eventually comes to a close with a thumping bass line that really hits home.
The next track has two parts “Next to a Rosary Pt 2” and “Next to a Rosary”, ironically Part 2 comes first. The first of these is a somewhat laid back track with a decidedly retro vibe. The problem is that the song stays in neutral and never progresses from there. The second of these “Next to a Rosary” tries to be its evil twin brother. It’s a much more gloomy and edgy track with a wobbling bass synth and hard hitting drums. The song takes a turn for the worse when it tries to modulate and mix both songs. The problem is that the vocal sounds off key because the harmonic foundation isn’t there. It is a failed attempt at connecting the two songs and it can be hard to listen to it at times because of how poorly the songs are merged together.
“She Wants The Sea” is extremely unforgettable and overall as a track feels flat. Harlowe an Co. try to create this dark and gloomy backdrop, but really it is an uninteresting and frankly drab aesthetic. This is similar to a lot of the tracks on the album, with most of them having extremely thin production. It feels like there is one idea for each song and other than that nothing is layered on top to fill out the space in between. “Say Something Else” is a great example with little or any deviation from the start of the track to the end. In terms of the vocals Harlowe comes off as irritating with a melody that is almost out of his range making his voice sound extremely strained.
Beyond some tracks that are bland, repetitive and banal there are one or two that stand out and warrant a listen. “Don’t Love You” is as close as Jean Jacket come to a dance track. It has what you would expect with a syncopated synth line and the typical bass drum holding the pulse. The problem is that it feels like a half-hearted attempt with lyrics that come off as extremely clichéd ” They don’t love you, not like I do”, which is undoubtedly cringeworthy. The track whimpers out with a dissonant synth that ends the song on a sour note. “Ladyyy” is a softer moment on the album with a nice mix of bell synths and an eerie siren that creates a mood of despair. This track is a rare tender moment on the album musically, but lyrically Harlowe goes for the blatantly simple “And this whole time, things we forget, while you were lifting mountains of regret”. It’s lyrics like this which take away from the poignant instrumentation which creates a backdrop so well.
Ultimately, as an album it’s sadly unoriginal and uninspired, with tracks that feel underdeveloped and directionless. The only worthwhile track on the album feels like it was written by someone else because of how it escapes these failings. Jean Jacket hang onto the moody and nonchalant, but in the end it feels like they really just don’t care.