J+J+J - They Hump While We Go Nuts / 2005 Circle Machine / 18 Tracks / http://www.jplusjplusj.com / http://www.circlemachinerecords.com / Reviewed 21 July 2005
For J+J+J, think a more spastic version of Junior Senior, tempered by the electro-buzz of Lolita Storm. The music has been completed in toto by electronic instruments, with tracks like “Skeeball Vs. The Mall” working its club magic with nothing more than a drum machine and a synthesizer The sound of the entirety of “They Hump While We Go Nuts” is very cohesive, as a casual listener will be hard-pressed to identify the beginning and ending of tracks at times. The continually bouncy nature of tracks like “Insomnia is a Sleeping Disorder” ties together the kitsch-rock of bands like B-52 and eighties R.E.M. with the current domination of the market by acts like “Camel Toe”-era Fanny Pack. The band is able to shift their sound enough to ensure that listeners are not tired of the same schtick by the fifth or the sixth track, as the increased tempo of “Portable Ultra Sound”. The breakdown during the use of the piece of title equipment has to be one of the weakest moments on the disc, as everything besides an electronic beep stops for a few seconds.
Another minor faux pas that J+J+J commits is during ““Suits” in Japan”, where the tempo and the body of the track is too slow and Spartan to hold up the track during the droning vocals of Joanna. The minor Aqua-like dual vocals of Joanna and Johnny is a nice change during the track, but this sound is only attempted for a few seconds and is not able to reverse the act’s fortunes. The band really shows their technical virtuosity (which makes sense since Joanna is a classically trained pianist) during “Vicious Advantage Opening/Closing Themes”, but the inclusion of vocals during the track really dimishes the impact of this tour de force. The instrumentation during the track would easily be fitting for a midi backdrop in a game, but the screamed-out vocals present turn it into something that just does not feel very professional. A track like “Snowballs at Her Face” may have the sound of an Atom and His Package sound, but this only help’s the disc a small amount. “They Hump While We Go Nuts” is a very uneven album ,and while there are some catchy tracks, there are also tracks that are challenging to experience. .J+J+J just need to be given a few more years to mature; this debut LP is strong but shows a number of rookie mistakes that hopefully will be fixed for their next outing.
Top Tracks: Snowballs at Her Face, Skeeball Vs. The Mall