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Jody & the Jerms - Divine (JATJ Records)

6 December 2023

There is a lot about Jody & The Jerms that reminds me of much of the music of my 80’s formative years. Especially that made by a wave of ex-punks who turned their energies to making a new form of pop music, music that ticked all the boxes of that genre’s traditions like accessibility and infectiousness but also added something in terms of integrity and art. But that isn’t to say that I see Oxford’s finest as being in any way backward glancing or nostalgic, more as the cheerleaders for a whole new (power-)pop approach, one that may kick the genre out of the lethargy and doldrums that it seems to have found itself becalmed in.

If previous singles such as “Insatiable” and “Liberation” proved that they were a band able to handle the upbeat and more energetic side of pop music, the latest single, “Divine,” sees them in more considered musical climes. It blends the sort of oriental vibes that Siouxsie and her Banshees liked to toy with, as well as the chime and charm of more indie-pop purveyors such as The Darling Buds. (Yes, I know that I drop their name around this band a lot, but they were great, and Jody & the Jerms are great in a similar way, okay.)

This time out, the beat runs in a stacatto hop rather than more energetic grooves. The guitars build tones and textures that cover both the ethereal and shimmering plus the rawer and more abrasive, relatively speaking, and the deft electronica that weaves and washes its way through the song proves that they understand totally how to blend the digital world with analog instrumentation. Add some additional, lush harmonies from new recruit Salma Craig and you have a great song. One that expands the band’s repertoire and furthers the cause.

The cause? Make pop great again! You know, but in a good, non government building trashing sort of way.

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