SINGLE REVIEW: JOCKSTRAP – THE CITY (WARP RECORDS)
‘Their best track yet? Quite potentially‘
Recent Warp signees Jockstrap have released their new single ‘The City’. The City’ is the second single from an upcoming EP titled ‘Wicked City’. One I have high hopes for, with the group having taken a short break and releasing such high quality material. In this time Skye played keys for Slowthai, and made a solo EP. Ellery acted in the Jenkin film ‘Bait’ and played and composed with Black Country, New Road. All of this being spectacular. But back to Jockstrap. Two new singles in, the group are showing a new level of ambition that is really quite exciting. Merging classical music and experimental electronica in casual cut and paste approaches.
‘The City’ is split into 2 halves. The first being a piano led ballad. Ellery gives a vocal delivery that cascades high in the mix. Her voice is very alike to that of a foreign singer in a romantic french film. It’s unusual, but in the best way possible. Ellery’s lyrics depict a city, and what seems like its overwhelming influence on a newcomer. ‘The City’ however, could really be a reference to anything. Wealth, power, a relationship? conformity? Nothing is given away in Ellery’s lyrics. The words are more like blurry paintings that are beautiful, yet hard to decipher. In ‘Acid’ this lyrical technique is mirrored, and this is really great. The tracks from this EP are more surreal than the outlandish shocker ones of the debut. Look at ‘I Want Another Affair’ for example, and compare it to these last 2 singles, and the unreleased material performed on NTS, which are more personal affairs to Ellery.
The track doesn’t stay in this classical ballad format for long though. The track moves into more experimental fields, both lyrically and instrumentally as the second half tears the first to pieces. What was a romantic ballad turns sour. Skye brings in a glitchy instrumental that is distorted and compressed to the maximum. It sounds like something off of Death Grips ‘Government Plates’ or Kanye’s ‘Yeezus’ album. Ellery’s vocals are layered up, and pitch shifted all over the place.
Lyrically Ellery delivers a pretty amusing ramble about a beaver and animal intruding a house? Christ I don’t even know, and i’m not going to try and pretend I understand it. I spent the time listening to this with my eyebrows raised. It lyrically reminds me of something on Scott Walker’s ‘Bisch Bosch’ album, and I think that comes in the outlandish humour.
‘I sat on the beavers face, and he sat on the beavers face and told him what the problem was. In the light the monster was frying four eggs in a huge black frying pan, and Golden buckwheat and rye in iron toaster, hit the ceiling, onto the blue tiled, errrr’
I think this is brilliant. If you’re looking for a ‘blue smarties overdose’ approach to electronica, or a piece of abstract poetry to try and pull apart. Look no further. Their best track yet? Quite potentially. Though the last single, ‘Acid’ might stand in it’s way.