jens – Before You Let Me Down

“That squeaky string noise is infuriating. Absolutely infuriating.”

Tim: Here’s one you might initially want to file under ‘irritatingly jaunty’, but keep with it because (a) it gets better and (b) it’s only 2:22 long in any case.

Tom: That squeaky string noise is infuriating. Absolutely infuriating. Occasional use as a stylistic choice, fine, but this is like Matt Bellamy breathing in on early Muse tracks: it’s all you can bloody hear! Which is a shame, because I… actually… think I like the rest of this? I know, that’s unusual for something irritatingly jaunty.

Tim: Verses: I can take them or leave them, but after a few listens I’ve largely come around to them. Chorus: yes, I like that, as it’s halfway between the verses and the best bit. The middle eight and beyond: ooh, very much so indeed please yes, because it’s that initial chirpy bit with a whole load of extra stuff on top of it, and it’s right at that point that I’m annoyed it’s such a short song, because I’d happily take at least another thirty seconds or so of it. As it is, there’s only really just enough of it to lift the rest of it above a rating of ‘hmm, so so’, for me at least.

Tom: For once, I’m actually charmed by this rather than put off. But you know what it needs? One more note. I realise that doesn’t play into the theme of the lyrics, but I’d be a lot happier if we just got a closing guiar note to resolve that open-ended bit at the end.

Well, that and less guitar squeak.

jens – Any Other Way

“One of the strongest closing sections I’ve heard in ages.”

Tom: What, he couldn’t afford a capital letter?

Tim: ‘jens’ is off Norway, bringing us this, with a promising start, dipping occasionally, but with one of the strongest closing sections I’ve heard in ages.

Tim: Am I wrong?

Tom: Thanks to a particular cadence and chord in that first verse, I kept singing “I Can’t Go For That” over this for a while. But, you’re right: that’s a really strong recovery out of the middle eight, and it almost saves the rest of the track.

Tim: The less enjoyable parts for me come at the start of each chorus, with the iffy vocoding; on the other hand, from 1:45 onwards it barely puts a note wrong. There’s almost a slight genre shift, really – from brooding electropop to regular upbeat pop, and I love that. The backing vocals that come along thirty seconds before the end? Marvellous.

Tom: And at three minutes long, I can deal with the slower parts. Sure, it’s not going on my regular playlist any time soon, but it gets a solid “Sure, That’ll Do” from me, which is practically an endorsement by my standards.