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The emergence of JJ in March 2009 was both meaningful and mysterious. A debut single, ‘jj no.1’, enchanted the music press, simultaneously existing across indie-¬pop and hip¬‐hop spectrums, excitingly new and yet frustratingly vague in its presentation. This was a taste, a scent, something intangible, an impression made without force. The music was here, but little else its makers remained anonymous. Pitchfork’s Best New Music review for the band’s debut album, summer 2009’s ‘jj no.2’, spoke first of their enigmatic qualities, rather than precisely what this music was: another sumptuous menagerie of styles, blended by an expert hand, intoxicating and otherworldly.
Nevertheless, ‘jj no.2’ proved a critical hit, a year¬‐end high-¬flyer on several influential blog lists for its year of release. 2010 saw a sequel, of sorts, in the shape of ‘jj no.3’, a studio collection drawn from the same sessions, the same frame of mind, as its predecessor. Similarly well received, it put its young makers in a position where they could no longer ignore demand for a grand reveal. So both Elin Kastlander and Joakim Benon appeared in the Marcus Söderlund¬‐directed video to ‘Let Go’. Cover, broken.
What JJ have captured with ‘V’, the new album, is a coherent album unlike anything they’ve previously issued. While ‘jj no.2’ and ‘jj no.3’ were conceived, originally, as a double album, which would surely have bewildered some listeners, here everything is compacted, concentrated, senses heightened. Twelve songs, spanning a breadth of compositional approaches but maintaining a pop¬‐savvy accessibility and conveying emotion in very honest terms.