Formerly offbeat Swedish duo lose their weirdness on new effort
Swedish duo JJ’s cloudy electronics don’t seem as weird now as they did when the band first surfaced in 2009. But as their shtick of gothic synths and and standoffish vocals has become more widespread, JJ too have changed, welcoming conventional pop sounds like never before. Sometimes this shift is literal – ‘Dean & Me’ borrows from Alanis Morissette’s ‘Thank U’ and pop perennial ‘It’s My Party’. Elsewhere the change comes down to a sound that has been scrubbed to within an inch of its life, removing JJ’s insular mystery and emerging like Coldplay without the singalong choruses. The result is not just unimaginative and lyrically anodyne – it’s boring. And that is the one thing pop music should never be.