Keeping absent from the limelight, jj eschew the frantic networking of their peers, deliberately turning themselves into self-made musical enigmas. Dueting in breathy vocals over cinematic soundscapes, Swedes Joakim and Elin are The xx with lilting Nordic accents. ‘And Now’ carries a shy charm that flutters doe eyed pools to melt the hardest hearts and even the ham-fisted ‘ethnic’ percussion on ‘Let Go’ is easily forgiven when teamed with delicately plucking keyboards. Evoking echoing whispers crept through rain sodden forests, ‘Light’ is fragile but not too pretty and though they have odd crusty-hippies-smoking-joss-sticks moments, the overall ethereal quality of the record stays intact. Like other offbeat mainstream types (Sia and Imogen Heap), jj could be destined to lie buried in the ‘Chillout’ bin, but are well worth digging out again. What the term ‘hidden gem’ was made for.

By Kate Parkin

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