With Jaguar Love’s 2008 debut, the former Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves members seemed to be headed in a poppier direction, but no one could be prepared for Hologram Jams. Going the Har Mar Superstar route, for their 2010 outing, the group made a full-fledged computerized pop album. Without key member, drummer/bassist/sometimes keyboardist, J.
Ah, the sophomore slump. That treacherous valley of expectation meeting fear is one that sinks the stomachs of many musicians and fans alike. It’s so often a lose-lose situation. If a band changes their sound, fans are disappointed, but there’s also disappointment if a band’s sound hasn’t matured or diversified since their debut album.
Jaguar Love were originally formed in 2007 from former members of Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves. As of last year, Jaguar Love is composed only of former members of the Blood Brothers. The departure or addition of any person to a band will always shake things up. In this case, the departure of drummer Jay Clark means that second set Hologram Jams was recorded without live drums, and written without live drums in mind.
Destroying the promise of 2008’s Take Me to the Sea, Jaguar Love’s new album abandons rock conventions altogether and invests in a synthesized mèlange of stilted party jams, stream-of-conscious rants, and the occasional mid-tempo attempt at pathos. The resulting cacophony may just represent one of the most flagrant wrong turns in recent music history. After the demise of The Blood Brothers, Johnny Whitney took his high-pitched scream and formed Jaguar Love with Pretty Girls Make Graves alumni Cody Votolato and Jay Clark.
First things first: though much of Hologram Jams sounds superficially similar to Jaguar Love's 2008 debut Take Me to the Sea, the band and the music have been through a few important changes. Or more specifically, given that these guys are known to shout themselves out like rappers, and lead singer Johnny Whitney runs his own fashion line (the new LP also comes with a limited edition wristband for folks who pre-ordered), it's probably better explained as a rebranding. Whitney became increasingly fond of writing songs on a drum machine, which led to the release of drummer Jay Clark, and Whitney and Cody Votolato (both formerly of the Blood Brothers) reappeared as a duo with more of a dance flavor and switched labels from Matador to Fat Possum.
As guilty pleasures go, Hologram Jams has plenty to secretly revel in. Adam Kennedy 2010 There was always a peculiarly camp splendour ingrained in much-missed screaming Seattleite song structure-splinterers The Blood Brothers, much of it owing to one half of their dual-larynx attack, Johnny Whitney. Defined by his distinctive shrill, those flamboyant urges were further explored via his electro-rock side project Neon Blonde.