Somebody get these kids some sunscreen. Miami’s Jacuzzi Boys must soak up more sun with each album, because unlike 2009’s No Seasons, and even 2011’s sun-drenched Glazin’, their new self-titled LP has had so many UV rays mainlined into its sonic arrangements that it’s become post-beach. That’s right, post-beach, like when your skin feels soft from the salt water and sand exfoliation, but you’re also battling some killer nose-burn because you were wrong about the power of SPF 15.
That’s not to say the gang has lost their edge, plodding about in damp towels hunting for an aloe plant. Nah, it’s more like they’ve sharpened their edge, which ultimately leads to a cleaner cut. Because whether it’s voguing with Iggy Pop, using oddball slang (“koo koo,” “get jelly”), or turning their fans’ vagina art into official music videos, the J-Boys know how to have a good time. But this isn’t the kind of good time where you drink too many Bud Light Limes and pass out spooning a table leg. This is the kind of good time where you get just the right amount of thigh-tingling buzz and have great sex.
Speaking of sex, the album opens with Be My Prism, a lubed-up entry into what is a generally silky collection, featuring first, thumping drums, then stretched-out guitars, a supple bassline and vocals on the verge of ecstasy. That segues serenely into Black Gloves, a creamy pop nugget that sounds like the theme song to the television drama of the summer. And every time Gabriel Alcala stutters over the line “Take it apart” in Double Vision, amidst a k-hole of synthy guitars, a little dead part of me is reborn.
Over the course of eleven tracks, the trio proves they can do rubbed-raw guitars (Guillotine), ooey-gooey dream pop (Dust) and video game-style car chase soundtracks (Domino Moon) without trying too hard. Rubble sounds like it’s been soaked in a patchouli bath of ‘80s glam records. Album closer Ultraglide is a delicate, dusty dream sequence.
Jacuzzi Boys have moved (or maybe just side-stepped) their sound from basement sweat-rock on Quaaludes to a Robotussin-slugged cuddle sesh. We thought it couldn’t be done, but here they are, being pretty stellar both ways.