The Verge: Jamaica

Welcome to The Verge: a column dedicated to music on the edge of a breakthrough. While this column frequently focuses on musicians from England, how about a band from the other side of the Chunnel?

Here’s a little SAT analogy for you: Daft Punk is to Justice as Phoenix is to… who? Judging by their impressive pedigree and upcoming debut, the answer appears to be Paris duo Jamaica.

Jamaica is Antoine Hilaire and Flo Lyonnet, and was formerly known as Poney Poney. No Problem, out in August, is produced by Xavier de Rosnay of Justice and Peter Franco, an engineer who has worked with Daft Punk. In the same way that Justice built on the French house of Daft Punk, Jamaica takes Phoenix’s electro-tinged indie rock to the next logical step.

From their locale-based name to their bouncy melodies and shrieking guitar solos, Jamaica is 2010’s answer to yacht rock, that ubiquitous brand of 70s and 80s soft rock parodied to great effect in the web series of the same name. Their presentation might be tongue-in-cheek, but the hooks are real. Case in point: the hilarious video for lead single “I Think I U 2,” which presents a fictional rise and fall of the band, complete with stock footage and neon guitars.

No Problem is eleven tracks packed full of jagged guitar riffs and four-on-the-floor beats that all but guarantee an energetic live performance. Even metalheads like it – at least according to the performance video for “Short and Entertaining.”

The album starts with a squeal on “Cross the Fader” and doesn’t stop until the jaunty “smooth music” of “When Do You Wanna Stop Working.” Let’s hope Jamaica doesn’t stop working anytime soon.

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