Monday, July 18, 2011

Seattle's crew of smooth operators, J Minus softly smack you in the face

J Minus

Devil Music

Self-released 2010
Seattle's crew of smooth operators, J Minus softly smack you in the face with their third album Devil Music. A trip-hop southern twang is dropped to open the album on Congratulations, You Suck. But then a light and sweeping chorus breezes in like Oasis on helium. The dreamy alternative lullaby When the Lights Go Out is tempered by a hint of sadness. A confident chorus drifts in over the clean guitar twinkling like fairy dust across this track. Sleepy reggae vocal lines are buried in the melancholic track, Can I Count On You. The buttery smooth voice of Trevor is subtly cheery on the uplifting chorus. A mood of desolation creates stark urban soundscapes on the barren No Sleep Tonight. Swing Low's chorus has a Tegan and Sara sort of flair to it while the preceding passages are delicate and pleading in their simplicity. Over Now is almost blatant in its reference to the Police's Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic before it explodes into total pop sappiness. Meanwhile Into the Dark claws at a drunken bit of internalized frustration with its discordant guitars and angular vocals. Cold piano introduces more dissonant guitar as the album's closer, Episode 2, undulates with a stuttering beat and a riff that reminds me of The Church's Reptile. The chorus reaches so softly towards heaven though that I feel as if I am ascending on wings fashioned from Trevor's voice. On Devil Music J Minus create songs that flow like silken fabric, the few raucous moments emphasize points of emotional intensity against a backdrop of nocturnal reverie.

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