May 24th, 2019 | Album reviews

Innovative Leisure

J-E-T-S are simple on paper: J-E is FM synth wizard Jimmy Edgar, T-S is footwork ambassador Travis Stewart, aka Machinedrum. But rather than meeting halfway between their futuristic fields, they’ve used J-E-T-S to flesh out something vaguely resembling pop, ceding the spotlight to a host of up-and-coming vocalists. Their debut LP ZOOSPA expands on that formula while leaving room for some jaw-dropping ear candy. Dawn Richard and Rochelle Jordan’s voices were shredded and scattered like confetti on Machinedrum’s New Energy, but here they’re allowed more room to emote. Richard’s “POTIONS” takes the age-old “love is a drug” analogy to the extreme (choice line: “I might overdose on you / I don’t really give a fuck if I do”), while Jordan turns “OCEAN PPL” from a menacing hyphy banger into a genuinely sweet devotional. Edgar and Stewart do get to flex their headier side, like on the vaporwave paeans “LOTUS HD” and “HYPER HIBERNATE,” but how can you vie for the listener’s attention when Mykki Blanco’s screeching “He was actin’ petty with the Fetti, you was takin’ cuts in the cut!”? ZOOSPA can be a lot to take in, but its stellar cast of characters and treasure trove of head-knocking beats are well worth the whiplash.

Zach Bilson