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John & Jehn - John & Jehn

John & Jehn

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

FRENCH duo John & Jehn’s eponymous debut LP is an odd beast. Partly endearing, it’s a leftfield set of songs that don’t always convince.

Certainly, their influences draw from a wide pool. They have a passion for Gainsbourg that’s evident throughout, but are equally capable of mixing in some of The Velvets tambourine ditties, as well as the grit of PJ Harvey.

Vocally, they provide two stark contrasts: one dark and brooding, the other stark and occasionally ethereal. Musically, the album offers a collection of sonic experiments, carried by dark humour on sharp pop melodies. It capably balances chaos and beauty and you’re never quite sure what to expect from one track to the next.

But while that’s certainly a positive, overall the album fails to gel and is a little too leftfield for its own good.

Album opener DOM, for example, takes an age to get going and then never really does, while Fear, Fear, Fear does at least include a keen sense of melody and a more urgent percussion (not to mention some slinky, Doors-inspired organs), but you still have difficulty warming to it.

On occasion, a track makes you sit up and take notice, such as the strange, surreal beauty of The Fall, with its dreamy harmonising and stripped back instrumentation, or the blues-rock influenced Lady Spider.

But too often the album feels too experimental and caught up in its own sense of cool. Sadly, the effect is merely cooling.

Download picks: The Fall, Lady Spider

Track listing:
Disc One – Side John

  1. DOM
  2. Fear, Fear, Fear
  3. Love Me
  4. I Can See You
  5. The Fall

Disc Two – Side Jehn

  1. You Far Away
  2. 20 L 07
  3. Lady Spider
  4. Survive
  5. 1, 2, 3

  1. I love this album – there’s a good review of it at the vidcast, PopJunkie TV
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hmZf9xFMQnU

    Pop Junkie    May 7    #