ALBUM REVIEW: Jeanines – Jeanines
Journalist Hannah Jane Parkinson very recently wrote about “the joy of small things”. Her article cites The Beach Boys and The Kinks and discusses the perfect length of a pop song. Of course this contentious notion caused uproar in the comments section, but regardless her formula boiled down to; there’s pleasure in shorter pop songs. Few inaugural albums echo this sentiment as well as the new self-titled record by Jeanines.
Some might still cynically question the structural integrity of a first album comprising of fifteen tracks plus a Siddeleys cover – not to mention that all these songs are significantly less than 3 minutes long, with the shortest being under a minute. But should these cynics exist they are welcome to browse a review far from here, because New York’s Alicia Jeanine and Jed Smith (of My Teenage Stride) have brought to the table an incredibly strong album. They have served up a treat.
The introductory notes of this album might bring you right into an indie-Inbetweeners interlude (and that’s meant in the best-possible-way), but quickly Jeanines shows off its true colours. Either Way is a spotless opener, a well-crafted pop song and a 101 in what this Brooklyn duo is about…
Catchier than an ear worm, and indeed the early-bird that caught that worm; every track on Jeanines will be branded on your brain for some time to come. Thanks to some melodic jangly guitars throughout the album, Jeanines’ sound is akin to that of Television Personalities. Coupled with this, Alicia’s thoughtful, sensitive lyricism is reminiscent of The Shins – now that’s a decent blend. It’s a marriage that manifests into an upbeat, charming record that offers something deeper when you strip away the top layer. This balance between near-melancholy messaging and joyous floating melodies is shown off particularly in tracks like Gone and the record’s utterly flawless centrepiece, Too Late.
Hits the Bone is another standout track on this album, Alicia vulnerably yet spritely sings, “when I’m on my own that’s when I fear it the most, when I’m on my own that’s when it hits the bone,” but you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a sad song with Smith’s energetic poppy rhythm underlining these words.
There’s a certain amount of neat irony on Jeanines that you can’t help but smile about. Winter in the Dark’s gorgeous, raw surf-rock tones sound feels like they should soundtrack a camera pan across a 70’s Californian beach scene, rather than anything in the winter or indeed the dark. Equally, the album’s final track Wake Up energetically preaches that “The end is coming,” yet it’s a considerably softer lullaby than what the rest of the record has offered. The track is an utter joy even if it does close the door on this delightful album.
Jeanines is 2019 indie pop does 1960 surf rock; and somehow like a groovy, indie Doctor Who touches in one way or another, each decade in between. There’s a cute fluidity to this album and it’s a credit to the DIY indie-pop scene. Fundamentally: it’s concise, it’s punchy and it deserves a spin!
Standout Tracks: Winter In The Dark, Hits the Bone, Too Late
For Fans Of: Grass Widow, Saturday Looks Good to Me, Television Personalities
Written by: Michael Roberts