Summer is a time for love– at least according to Swedish pop band jj. To make the waiting time for their next full-length LP go by a bit faster, the duo have released a five-song EP entitled High Summer. The EP is certainly reminiscent of the current season. The tracks are sweet, romantic, and melodic. But overall, High Summer is a lot like a summer fling: it’s fun at the time, but you hardly remember it come September.
The band get things going with the EP’s title track, “High Summer.” For those who aren’t familiar with jj, here’s what you need to know: there’s going to be a few “oohs,” a couple of “ahhs,” and a whole lot of sparse, glittery beats. “High Summer” definitely fits the jj mold to a T, with lovely lyrics that read like a story that alternates between cutesy and badass. Pretty much, it’s about being a nice girl, riding to a show in your Volvo, and being “fresh as fuck.” However, the song’s sparse background leaves the listener wanting more. The song is also quite long, so that by the time you hear a line such as “you’re so cute with your problems/see me in the street, you know we gonna solve them,” you might be saying “blegh” instead of “aww.” The journey continues on “10,” where Elin Kastlander sings, “I’ve got cameras in my face/I guess the revolution will be televised.” It paints a picture of a kind of imaginary life, or the type of adventurous and temporary existence that can only be sustained by the heat of a summer day.
Not so hot is “My Name,” which is essentially a string of Swedish (at least I think it’s Swedish) words that sort of acts as a prelude to the next track, “Big Hearts, Big Dreams.” I’m loving the nod to the homeland, but on an EP so short, it kind of feels like wasted space. Luckily, “Big Hearts, Big Dreams” is a true charmer, the one song that has enough substance to last beyond the season. The sounds are far more layered, and feel far meatier than anything else on High Summer.
“Times” is the EP’s nostalgic closer, which recalls those chilly, weepy last moments of summer as you think “we did things we wanna leave behind.” It’s fitting, because High Summer has all of the romantic elements of a summer’s day, but lacks a little bit of the heat. Despite containing five well-crafted songs, it feels like something’s definitely missing; sort of like returning from a fun, relaxing day at the beach, only to find out that you’re a little scorched by a sunburn. It may not be a fair comparison, but I can’t help but think of fellow Swedish duo the Knife, who craft a sort of dark, hypnotic adventure into the unknown with every song. In turn, jj seem to favor fun and clever lyricism over creating a whole, solid package. Summer may be a time for romance, but while I’m totally liking High Summer, I’m not in love.
2.5 / 5 bars