Last summer, in clubs and at gigs around London, I began seeing skinny, fashionably dishevelled-looking youngsters wearing black tee shirts simply inscribed ‘JJ72.’ By the time I had figured out that was the name of a band I was already pretty sceptical. Probably whiny pop-music for wanna-be angst-ridden indie kids who had just missed the Placebo phenomenon. Still, they were playing the Leeds Festival and since I was there I thought I’d check them out – only the tent they were playing in was rammed, people crowded ten deep around its outer periphery. So I can’t say I saw them, but the two songs I heard were delivered through the white canvas walls with sufficient intensity to prompt me to purchase their self-titled debut album.

For the record, I was wrong. Vocalist Mark Greaney doesn’t whine, he emotes. And while JJ72 have been accorded the mixed blessing of loads of media audulation, and a quaint, too-good-to-be true success story (they recorded a three track demo while still at school, and… well, the rest is history) they also make arrestingly good music. Imagine them as Muse’s moody, introspective Irish cousins and you are not far off the mark.

Musically, their songs tend to be spare, stripped down to only the most essential chords and beats. ‘Not Like You’ murmurs along with chiming guitar, while the impossibly tender ‘Willow’ offers up a muted rhythm overlaid with mellow strings. It is almost surprising when they let loose on songs like ‘October Swimmer’ (their debut single) and ‘Algeria.’ Impressive, even churning out of a stereo, these are tunes that must simply explode off a stage. The link, though, between the hard and the soft on this album is Greaney’s remarkable vocals. By far the most powerful instrument this group has at their disposal, his clear, compelling voice rises effortlessly to the impossible. Even more remarkable, Greaney delivers his sometimes sublimely weird lyrics (for example, "Moths fly in the flames like our little harlem") with such fraught passion that they defy enquiry.

In fact, for a one word summation of JJ72, ‘passion’ would probably be about right. An eerily good combination of the simplest of musical elements, they constitute a sort of musical revelation. Never mind the kids in tee shirts, never mind Top of the Pops, JJ72 are genuinely, if precociously, talented and they have crafted a debut album so fresh and forceful that you might just









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