-Adult Jazz’s sophomore effort is highly risky and highly rewarding.
“Earrings Off!” is a potentially disastrous album. It walks the very fine line between being gleefully strange and explosively colorful, and being unbearably obnoxious. To the wrong ears, this album will sound like shit. The vocals are mixed loudly and metalically, the sounds are brittle and glitchy (“Ooh Ah Eh” in particular sounds like Oneohtrix Point Never producing a pop song), and often times there’s so many things being thrown at you with little dynamic contrast, making these songs hard to make heads or tails of. But for me, this thing clicked on first listen and nearly every second of its brief 24 minute run time is enjoyable.
Really, I’m enjoying this so much because Adult Jazz do something I’ve always admired: they make really unconventional sounds and structures catchy. It’s something a group like, say, Animal Collective do extraordinarily well. They make pop music that’s hidden, in this case, by roaring and growling trombones, swirling electronics, hypnotic and glitching rhythms, and pitch shifted vocals, all that come together to add a layer of mystique to some really well written pop songs.
And this album is more poppy than their 2014 debut, “Gist Is,” which featured really linear song structures and more drawn out songs. This album is more verse-chorus driven, but all for the better, as I came away from it some really memorable tracks. The album is laid out kind of strangely, with 3 of the 7 tracks being experimental interludes, but those non songs are made up for the quality of the 4 fleshed out ones, especially, the two singles: the title track and “Eggshell.” The former is full of propulsive energy and momentum, with these constant kick drums pounding out a 4/4 beat on the hook, and what a hook it is. The melody line is extremely nimble, as it is on “Eggshell,” with Harry Burgess’s voice going up and down and up and down as he sings the title. This song is also rhythmically infectious as well, with a mid paced dance beat that sounds like its constantly on the verge of spiraling out of control.
On the verge of spiraling out of control is actually a good way to describe most of this album. Like I said before, it walks a very fine line between genius and shit, and while I wouldn’t declare it a genius record, it’s certainly much closer to the former than the latter.
Standout Tracks: “Earrings Off!” “Eggshell” “Ooh Ah Eh”