Never knowing quite what to expect from the renowned duo, but knowing it will be worth your while to dive in regardless, has become something of a revered quality for Jay the Protégé and Don’t Jump.
In this case, their brand new EP blossoms into life with a beautifully appropriate, audio and conceptual boost, which looks regrettably on the present but hopefully towards the future.
Better Days is everything its title seems to promise. The opening guitar picking sets an acoustic mood that feels as unexpected as ever. There’s an inherent optimism to the sound, and the song’s hook resolves with a similarly positive energy.
Then you get the two vocalists, each contributing their own recognisable tone and manner of writing to the mix in a captivating way. The whole song is a defiant highlight, and a tricky one to move past given the calming yet truthful aura it presents – you’re likely to hit repeat once or twice before progressing.
Pretty Lies follows, and the sound is far more emo rap here – complete with the contemporary thread of auto-tune. Still there’s a melodic lightness to the soundscape and the bars.
Lyrically the depth of the duo’s writing really peaks here – each pours their own difficulties and uncertainties into the process, effectively replacing the need for genre labels with a decidedly human need for connection. The song’s guitar loop in the backdrop stands a little further forward during the latter half, and you soon realise this song is perfectly in tune with the entire mood and intention of the EP. A grower for sure, one that impresses and calls out to you increasingly as it moves along.
Trippin’ continues on with the same melancholic thinking, though there’s a touch of pop-punk to the brightness and angst of the performance here. One thing’s for sure, this brief, four-track EP is about as eclectic as possible without sacrificing relevance to itself. Jay and Don’t Jump are songwriters through and through, always willing to be entirely themselves, fearless on the mic, both lyrically and in terms of the varying energy and vulnerability detectable in their voices. The two sounds and styles are notably unique, yet the dynamic seems born to fit. There’s a shared depth and darkness to their musical approach, and this entire EP makes for a welcomed hit of escapism for those who’ve been having similar struggles facing their own demons.
A superb little guitar riff introduces the final track on the EP – a classic and engaging, bright and beautiful Roses brings things to an anthemic finish. The song builds up gorgeously, the quiet passion and subtle desperation in the voice, this blend of melody and rap – those emo qualities call out again, but in the same instance there’s a level of love and gratitude to the writing and delivery.
I was down but I finally made it out – hope and possibility lingers after listening, and the song itself proves something of a timeless, alternative pop hit, with hints of The Offspring, Crazy Town’s Butterfly, even a sort of Drinking in LA swagger and uninhibited creative drive.
Brilliant, the perfect way to go out – offering a helping hand after the depths of human uncertainty had previously washed over in a profoundly emotive way.