[11 January 2010]
Los Angeles-based alt-pop band Jogger is the brainchild of singer-songwriting duo Amir Yaghmai and Jonathan Larroquette. Their ambitious debut album, This Great Pressure, couples soft, synthesized timbre and throttling DJ Shadow-esque breaks with bright-eyed alternative/indie rock flair. Sharing vocal duties, Yaghmai and Laroquette’s whispery phrasing better resemble the calm, reticent delivery of Samuel Beam, the one-man band behind Iron and Wine. The bold album opener “Napping Captain” feels unfettered and serves as a brilliant example of what a collaboration between folk-rockers Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Chemical Brothers might sound like, while “Falling” sees the pair merge quaint, wobbly, whirring synths with a sleepy guitar-driven backdrop—the culmination of the two seem reminiscent of Radiohead’s spacious-sounding opus “Worrywort”. The mesmerizing live recording of the subterranean-like closer “Superman” fires on all cylinders, as Laroquette applies dizzyingly layered smash-down beats to Yaghmai’s cohesive, complex, and darkly-accented wah-wah guitar riffs, resulting in a musical finale that goes far beyond scope or definition. Jogger’s immediate sound on This Great Pressure is, indeed, difficult to confidently categorize, as it borrows from a number of different musical genres, but one thing’s for certain: It’s an album that many artists, years from now, will have wished they themselves had made.