no. 3

Lately it seems like everything that is better than everything else is from Sweden. Surely an effective argument could be made that the country’s particular political order and policies are proving a supportive framework to foster commercial and artistic output that is, interestingly, at once innovative, harmless and more broadly appealing than more Western counterparts have to offer (see the colonializing triumph of IKEA). The band jj is the most recent act in a slew of Swedish exports that are like the aural equivalent of an IKEA-furnished living room—their music manages to be enormously aesthetically pleasant. The most recent record, no.3, is littered with the kinds of dreamy little bleeps and bloops that were the ever-popular soundtrack to save screens of 1980s 8-bit RPG video games. This is the sound that can be found on most reifying pop records these days, but they’re curated and carefully layered here with delightful and unexpected touches like a moody harmonica, or a little flamenco guitar flourish and heartrending singing. It could make a uniquely great listen for an innocent make-out session taking place on a compartmentalized Swedish sofa.