Indie music has a problem. So many bands are trying to sound different and just end up sounding the same. But JR JR doesn’t subscribe to that way of thinking and their new EP August and Everything Prior is proof of that. Clocking in with five new tracks, the album may not quench the thirst of JR JR’s audience, but it’s a welcome addition to the musical sphere. And while many listeners may already be aware of JR JR’s music, their new album is a great jumping point into their indie-pop back catalog.
JR JR has an incredible musical power. They have taken control of their own sound and not pandered to what the audience expects. Take “Magic,” for example. Song titles like this come with a certain expectation, but JR JR doesn’t waver from their sound. Ending with the shortest track on the EP “Magic” plods along with walking bass and bright guitar. It has a repetitious melody and simple sing-along chorus that creates its own little bit of magic.
Alongside a softened 8-bit synth, “Good Old Days” starts with the question, “what if someone breaks the internet?” Right now, that might seem like the only thing that can make the current situation any worse. But instead of talking about the literal outcomes from such a catastrophic event, JR JR reminisces on the past, as well as the internet’s influence on everything in our lives. Despite its somewhat melancholic subject matter, this track is very chill with a relaxed beat interjected with a Beatles-esque spacey bridge. The track is delicately layered, dragging the audience’s attention to the lyrics, balancing the track perfectly.
“The Way I Do” is possibly the best track on the album. From the start, the track sounds like JR JR have taken Crosby, Stills, and Nash harmonies and meandering folk melodies, and thrown them into a candy cotton machine. And while that might sound super sweet, it balances quite well. The harmonies lay over a synth track and bounce into a head-bopping chorus that is unexpected and joyful. It has the feeling of a giant street party and fades just like the end credits of a happy indie movie.
August and Everything Prior is a five-track wonder. It is indie-pop covered in a space-age haze and makes for a great musical distraction. Subtleness is key to this album. While other bands are trying hard to grab your attention from the first note, JR JR understands the power of a slow burn, and it is a talent that they have clearly mastered.