Review: Jaguar Love – Hologram Jams

Artist: Jaguar Love
Album: Hologram Jams
Genre: Dance/Electronica
Label: Fat Possum

When we interviewed Jaguar Love vocalist Johnny Whitney last Summer, he compared writing songs for the now defunct Blood Brothers to writing for Jaguar Love by saying The Blood Brothers wrote stories set to music and that Jaguar Love was more like a series of haikus. If that’s the case, Jaguar Love’s new album, Hologram Jams, is a poetic rave of artistic expression with enough synth and hooks to keep the party going for weeks. Where their first release, Take Me To The Sea found the group taking a more indie rock approach to music and including quite a few elements of The Blood Brothers, Hologram Jams finds the group completely separating themselves from 95% of music out right now by creating a dance driven niche all their own that I think has a lot of promise.

Forget songs about finding romance and loss in car accidents or riding skeletal lightning, Johnny Whitney has moved on to bigger and [mainly] more positive things. Evident throughout the duration of Hologram Jams, Whitney seems to have finally found his comfort zone creatively while maintaining the lyrical wit that’s got him to this point in the industry. The album’s apparent anthem, “Cherry Soda,” serves as a perfect example with Whitney exclaiming he “rode a motherf*cking mastodon” to his prom and that he almost died due to a battle with an octopus. It’s this kind of visual and creative approach to storytelling and songwriting that really takes what would be a throwaway dance rock record to a level all it’s own. Even the simplest songs [“Up All Night,” “Everything Is Awesome,” and “Sad Parade”] feel exponentially more intricate as Whitney weavs a twisted web of words throughout each song with ease and an imagination that’s second to none.

It’s not all about the lyrics however, especially on a release of this nature. The people want, no NEED, to dance.

Going it without a drummer or any backing musicians outside of Cody Votolato and his guitar, Jaguar Love’s sound has changed quite a bit with this release. The album is driven almost entirely by continuously catchy, albeit a bit obvious in terms of choice, drum loops, but it’s really the mixture of guitar and bass lines that Votolato lays down that sonically makes the album. Whereas the beats may feel a bit like worn territory, the overall atmostphere the group is able to create takes the listener on an emotional journey of rave-like excitement to heartache and promise/hope.

I can’t end this review without mentioning the cover of “Piece of My Heart” that ends the record, but all I can say about it is that you may need to give it a few spins to really grasp. Jaguar Love took a great song and made it better, but only by making it weirder.

Take Me To The Sea introduced the world to Jaguar Love, but I think Hologram Jams truly showcases the scope of the group. Having done away with the [at times] awkward indie rock meets dance sound of the first record, Jaguar Love are at their best the more beat and lyrically driven their music becomes. Thanks to the nearly mind blowing atmosphere Votolato’s guitar work provides and quick tongued tales of Whitney, Hologram Jams crosses the boundaries of the electronica genre and truly takes the listener for a ride they won’t soon forget.

Score: 9/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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3 Responses to “Review: Jaguar Love – Hologram Jams”

  1. Mykuhl says:

    A must buy for me. AOTY.

  2. Hey admin, very informative blog post! Pleasee continue this awesome work..