The Brooklyn duo delivers an album that is short, sweet and overflowing with memorable memories
Jeanines’ self-titled debut album was one that flew under most radars, but those who knew, knew. Brooklynites Alicia Jeanine and Jed Smith specialise in a quintessentially San Francisco sound – 80s jangle with a 60s ethereal air. It’s a line drawn between C86 indie pop and the crisp guitars and gentle psychedelia that influenced it. Often, it sounds as if the instrumentation is being teleported from the former while Alicia’s voice beams in from the latter.
Not that Jeanines should be dismissed as throwbacks. Theirs is a simple approach with few embellishments and enough grit and space to make it feel very much alive. On Don’t Wait For A Sign, their long-awaited second album, it all seems effortless. Maybe it’s the sprightly tempos or the “enough of that, on to the next song” mentality, but it’s somewhat ridiculous that songs this good should be made to seem this easy.
The warm jangle of ‘That’s Okay’ starts things off on the perfect foot, but just as its gentle hooks take hold, it gives way to ‘Any Day Now’, an indisputable highpoint that just about survives long enough to make it through the second chorus. One and a half minutes is all it needs to work its charms but it begs to be played again. And again.
The lonely psych folk of ‘People Say’ slows the pace slightly, Jeanine’s vocals sounding so distant and detached that they might have floated away if it all didn’t seem to collapse inwards with weariness. The excellent ‘Don’t Wait For A Sign’ chases the brief gloom away, Jed Smith’s bass moving up in the mix to lay down something approaching a groove. ‘I Lie Awake’ almost creeps into post punk instrumentation before ‘Got Nowhere To Go’ and ‘Who’s In The Dark’ deliver a perfect one-two of 60s folk pop.
Don’t Wait For A Sign comes and goes in such a whirlwind that it demands repeat listens, like a slow motion replay of something so brief and brilliant that you missed it the first time.