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JW Paris - Alive (Blaggers Records)

5 December 2023

If Brit-pop was seen as the UK’s response to the grunge coming from the other side of the water, a sort of “we don’t need that when we have this, homegrown sound, thank you very much,” then the idea of a band who seem to be inspired by and indeed manage to infuse both sounds into their music, might seem an odd yet intriguing prospect. And yet, JW Paris is precisely that, and “Alive,” their latest musical missive, is a strange, brilliant…and brilliantly strange sonic chimera.

Taking the infectious and accessible groove of Brit-pop and the abrasive nature and sonic weight of grunge, they create a sort of ragged, garage band take on the former scene or maybe a pop-aware version of the latter. Actually, both, simultaneously.

The nineties were a very tribal time, and perhaps JW Paris’ sound would have been too controversial, too divisive for such an era of musical demarcations and sonic allegiances. Then again, they may have been the perfect antidote. We will never know. Their music, forged somewhere between pop and a hard place, the epitome of muscle and melody working in unison, is perfect for these, perhaps more musically enlightened, more broad minded, times.

In a side note, I also stumbled across their single “You’ve Got Me,” and that didn’t clear things up at all, reminding me a lot of the fabulous and much-overlooked Underneath What? And now I’m even more confused but in a good way. But art should be like that, asking more questions than it provides answers to.

Opposites do attract, and JW Paris is a very attractive sonic proposition indeed.