JPNSGRLS - Circulation

Released July 15, 2014

By Graham White

JPNSGRLS ’ debut LP Circulation opens with a bang, shocking listeners into a instantaneous dance-fest. The Vancouver quartet has released an album that is so full of intensity and energy that no one song can be listened to as a single. They have created a fully connected, strong album that is heavy with feeling. It is boot-stomping goodness, head-banging ecstasy, and a listening pleasure from start to finish. 

Opening with Smalls, the guitar instantly takes the listener to a place of intense movement, a fast pace and fun. Reminiscent of The Arctic Monkeys and The Pixies, it is a dance waiting to happen. The off-beat ska riffs give it an almost electric energy, filling the listener with a movement that cannot be rescinded. How could we refuse this tempting offer to dance? Tiger follows, continuing the feeling of urgency that is present throughout the album, with some tongue-in-cheek added in for good measure. The beat drives the listener through the song without losing any of it’s energy, and then erupts into Brandon, a true head-banging masterpiece of angst-y energy.

The title track Circulation has a rising and falling intensity, like being caught in a tropical storm in naught but a lifeboat. With some very poignant lyrics and a whole lot of heart, Circulation pumps energy through the listener’s every vein. It has a very visceral affect on the listener, sending shivers up the spine and invoking movement. Mushrooms’ would best be described as a frantic foray into the forest, fast-paced and powerful. It is bizarre in it’s lyrics, with such gems as “we are the furniture/we are the pale of the sun”, with musical accompaniment to match the hallucinogenic lyrics both in spirit and emotion. From The East follows with a beautiful bass line and a driving beat, giving the listener a bit of a reprieve from the almost constant head-banging. Tennis Shoes picks the head-banging vibe right up, with swelling builds that immerse and connect the listeners to the music. It’s switching rhythms give it a uniqueness that is unmatched in it’s danceability. 

Southern Comforting is lyrically and vocally entertaining and touching, without losing the energy that the album has worked so hard to build. It is energetic without being stressful, moving into Laughing Gas, which starts moving and refuses to stop. A freight train has nothing on the energy created by the track as it builds and builds without any sign of slowing down. This energy does not overshadow the vocals, which (like most of the album) are well written and metaphorical. Brace Yourself follows with a strong boot-stomping tone, fast paced ska and a beat that will force even the most devout non-dancer into bobbing their head, at least. David and Goliath keeps the boot stomp alive, with listeners completely immersed in the energetic time-shifts and a hard hitting ruckus of sound. It is a wonderful destruction, as if it is aware that you must destroy in order to create, making it one of my favorite tracks on the album. The final track, Oh No Echoes, employs falsetto vocals to great effect, with the driving beat we have come to expect in each track. It is difficult, to say the least, to end such an energetic album.

JPNSGRLS’ has created a fantastically fun boot-stomping listen that feels like a live show. The energy emanating from Circulation connects with the listener and invites movement, dance, and head-banging. Raw and real, Circulation is a great listen from beginning to end.