Album Review

JJ - V

A consistently strong listen, albeit a somewhat uneventful one.

JJ - V

It can’t be easy making personal songs sound so cinematic, but Swedish duo JJ are really good at exactly that. Small words made to look big is what the pairing of Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander do best on third album, ‘V’. The emotions contained within the lyrics are portrayed in as widescreen a fashion as possible, with instrumental beds as floral as they come. It’s the most immediate release of theirs yet.

Four years after ‘jj n°3’, their last full-length record, ‘V’ has been a long time in the making. As the record begins with its grandiose intro, it’s evident that this gap has done them good. Their distinct brand of hip-hop inspired dream pop feels reinvigorated here, as if all dials have been turned up as high as they go. There’s not as many overt elements of hip-hop included this time around, but the bizarre hypnagogic swagger remains.

‘V’ polishes their sound to a crisp sheen, resulting in some gorgeous soundscapes. It makes for a consistently strong listen, albeit a somewhat uneventful one. There’s not a lot of variation, even if what’s on offer is so well crafted. The pretty textures don’t always make for strong songwriting, and the failure to keep it exciting throughout is what stops the record from being as unmissable as their debut.

There’s plenty to enjoy on ‘V’, but a little more experimentation could have done it wonders. Some outside collaborators could very well have helped in this regard. It’s not like the pair are averse to working with other musicians, and the lack of appearances from outside producers or vocalists seems like a missed opportunity of sorts.

But taken for what it’s worth, ‘V’ is still a very pretty record. There’s certainly not a sound exactly like JJ’s, and ‘V’ is an excellent reminder of why their style is so interesting. It falls short of being an essential listen, but makes clear that JJ still have what it takes to craft a sound quite unlike anything else.

Tags: jj, Reviews, Album Reviews

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