With infectious grooves and heavenly dream pop sensibilities, Jets Overhead’s Boredom and Joy is light on the tedium and heavy on the delight.
This is the third record by the Victoria, British Columbia, band. Their 2006 debut, Bridges, was actually one of the first “pay what you want” records to be released. Radiohead would eventually use a similar model for its In Rainbows.
Boredom and Joy carries all the weight of a band interested in solving modern issues, like the rise of the digital universe and what it means to artists, but soaks it in a nostalgic sweetness that blends the basics with elegant vocal harmonies and sweet, pensive melodies.
Vocalists Adam Kittredge and Antonia-Freybe Smith form the chewy centre of Jets Overhead, providing a gossamer respite from the overproduced pop artists of the day with a soft-focus, windswept balance of tones and moods that permeate the album with a sense of profound peace. It wouldn’t be wrong to listen to Jets Overhead wearing a shirt with long, billowy sleeves and making lots of arm movements as the music cascades into your ears like waves of light.
As well as the dippy hippie tag fits, Boredom and Joy is still decidedly modern.
Bassist Jocelyn Greenwood highlights this modernity with her fuzzy, eclectic lines that sit under the band’s architecture. With the rollers of synthesizers and guitars sailing through, it’s her playing that somewhat grounds the vessel.
Take “Love Got in the Way,” for instance. Greenwood’s bass kicks it into gear before the disco swirl commences and Smith takes over. The song is bound to the flashing floor in some sort of 70s throwback joint where the men wear white suits with wide lapels and the women wonder where the men are. Kittredge completes the package, channeling all of the Bee Gees at once with his electric falsetto.
There’s also the tender folk-oriented “These Girls are Friends of Mine,” swelling as it is with acoustic guitar and more of Greenwood’s tantalizing lines. The vocal blend is hallucinogenic and the beautiful cracklings create a striking imitation of front porch crooning and swaying patio lanterns.
From the killer take on disco to the summer haze of “Sink or Swim,” Jets Overhead’s Boredom and Joy captures various moments, people and places in time and manages to push them all forward into something exceptionally modern. This isn’t just a throwback record; it’s a look back and a nod ahead from an enchanting, fun dream pop band well worth keeping an ear on.