I feel very fortunate to have obtained this album (JJ's second, after their usefully-titled debut longplayer 'No. 2') a little ahead of its release date as it is the perfect soundtrack to the onset of Spring. Sunshine fills many of its nine tracks, but it is a sunshine offset by a tangible coldness, giving the overall feel an eerie aspect that cannot quite be pinned down.
It is equally difficult to give concrete influences to help describe the album, as, though there will be moments when you hear the hand of other bands at work on their sound, JJ remain resolutely themselves. There is something of Saint Etienne's 'Fox Base Alpha' in the quirky samples, but none of the peppy perkiness. Some moments called to mind Fever Ray, but less overtly experimental. Perhaps if The XX got out of the right side of the bed, trading melancholy for wistfulness, they could make something like this, but even that comparison falls short.
What we have is washes of blissful electronica, with rhythms that propel the music without jarring the gentle mood, even in the more obviously rhythmic tracks such as 'Into The Light'. The female vocals are luscious and beguiling, and, though the music relaxes body and mind, it maintains a grip that prevents it becoming simple background sound. JJ want your attention, and though they hold it with a velvet touch, it is firmly held none-the-less.
This is an album designed to be enjoyed in the gentle light of early morning or late afternoon, over coffee and croissants or a bottle of beer in the dying of the day. Above all, though, it is designed to be enjoyed, and achieves this with aplomb.