jj | jj N° 3

Secretly Canadian (2010)
By CARRIE BATTAN  |  February 23, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

OTR022610_jj_main 

Secretly Canadian's new acquisitions (and future touring partners of the xx) continue to harness dualities that leave them smack dab between savvy-kitschy and kitschy-kitschy. In a sophomore effort that extends their debut full-length (jj N° 2) instead of building on it, the faceless Swedish duo have remained personally elusive while producing a new bunch of accessible pop tracks.

N° 3 is yet another collection of ultra-polished little songs that sound as if they'd been written and recorded in someone's bedroom — endlessly airy but chilling, digitally manufactured but ethereal. "Let Go" plays like something designed to soothe babies to sleep but pleads, "Take me away/Like I overdosed on heroin." And when the opening "My Life" starts up, you think the band must have spent six months in a really dark place — then you realize that, like N° 2's "Ecstasy," the piano ballad is just a Weezy cover.

That jj have sustained anonymity while rising in popularity and acclaim is one thing. But their ability to re-create shrewd discordant pairings in a second set of simple pop songs and still leave fans uncertain as to whether the duo are cleverly cloying or cloyingly clever is what will keep listeners in suspense until the curtains have parted.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Entertainment, Music,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY CARRIE BATTAN
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MAIN ATTRAKIONZ | 808S AND DARK GRAPES II  |  September 07, 2011
    Following a steady stream of low-budget tracks, mixtapes, and videos posted on their Tumblr this year, the Bay-area stoner rap duo of Squadda B and MondreM.A.N. (a/k/a Main Attrakionz) have raised the stakes by offering up something that resembles a traditional release.
  •   LIL B | I'M GAY (I'M HAPPY)  |  July 19, 2011
    Gone are the endless declarations of hoes on his dick in groups of 30 and 100; gone are the claims that he is everyone from Ellen Degeneres to Miley Cyrus.
  •   SHABAZZ PALACES | BLACK UP  |  June 09, 2011
    The musical reincarnation of Ishmael Butler, the elusive Seattle rapper who makes up one-third of the semi-popular '90s jazz-rap act Digable Planets under the name Butterfly, is a lot to unpack.
  •   FRIENDLY FIRES | PALA  |  June 07, 2011
    For a densely layered, expertly produced dance-rock album, this second full-length from British three-piece Friendly Fires is perplexingly bland.
  •   THE WEEKND | HOUSE OF BALLOONS  |  April 27, 2011
    Self-release (2011)

 See all articles by: CARRIE BATTAN