- by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2016-08-19 Label:
JPNSGRLS certainly offered up a tempting album with Circulation last year, taking all the good, melodic pop-punk sensibilities of the noughties, but it was an album scattered with decent songs. A quick follow up in Divorce signals that this a band with a point to prove.
If you enjoyed bounce and swing of their previous album then opener ‘Oh My God’ should fill you with glee. It’s perfectly hit, with catchy runs like “baby I haven’t been a human in a long time, she said calm down and just be an improvement on my last guy” and the head rattling “Oh my God! Oh my God!”.
That kind of fun is thrown around like confetti, with ‘Gap Year’ presumably ripping on the girls who “find themselves” on their gap years. But this is all unsurprising, it wasn’t a magic touch which was missing before, it was simply the solidity and stamina needed across an album's worth of songs.
This album is filled with corkers, even the more relaxed ‘All Of Myself’ is filled with great, sexually tense lyrics. There’s an attempt to tackle issues on ‘Bully For You’, but it’s hit and miss in terms of whether the imagery makes sense. The line “if only she had been born a son” however, solidly affirms the sarcastic message if you missed it.
While you could criticise some of the lyricism (‘Circus’ in particular) you’re never let down by the riffs, the percussion and the springy bass to which the former is tied. Faint hints of math-rock are twinged into wholly enjoyable formats (‘2009’), and it’s the tying of all this together - including the vocal melody - which makes each song more memorable than their previous album.
At their core you get the feeling this is band brought up on a diet of teen-friendly emo, but the escalation of ‘Holding Back’ and frantic scratching of ‘19 Pound Baby’ show an impressive range of craft and ingenuity beyond that. Even if you were left unimpressed by Circulation, you really ought to give Divorce a try - you might even enjoy yourself.