Published May 26, 2020Jade Hairpins is an apt name for this Toronto- and London-based group — their sound is lovely and delicate but also pretty sharp. Led by Fucked Up members Jonah Falco and Mike Haliechuk, Jade Hairpins dates back to 2018, initially conceived as an addendum to Fucked Up's album of that year, Dose Your Dreams. On debut album Harmony Avenue, joined by Tamsin M Leach and Jack Goldstein, Jade Hairpins continue the expansion while bending in a different direction.
The genre is described as "post-post punk." Irony has been fully extended and has returned as a sort of seasoned earnestness. The music is punchy, with electronic and analog elements, but, in contrast with Fucked Up, there is absolutely nothing abrasive about the vocals, which are sometimes dominated by beautiful harmonies, as the album's title suggests.
Every track sounds different. "J Terrapin" is happy-go-lucky, if a bit of an earworm, with vocals that sound like a joyful yell against fast and energetic rock, while "(Don't Break My) Devotion" features distorted alien-baby-like singing backed by trippy, space-aged synths. "Dolly Dream" skillfully crafts layers of sonic repetition for an entirety that is smooth and complex. This layering technique becomes even more sophisticated in the short but evocative "Truth Like A Mirage," which builds its way into impressive vocal harmonies.
It's as if Fucked Up went to a rave, met up with members of a pop group, got into a huge fight with them, made up, and became the best of friends, spending evenings together walking off into the sunset. Hopefully, Jade Hairpins will turn out to be more than a footnote in the story of Fucked Up, as this seems to be a promising path to venture out on. (Arts & Crafts)