Sometimes names can signify a shift in the ground. It may be shallow, but it ups your interest a bit. “So why are Jensen and the Flips dropping the vowels?” I thought, when I first got wind of their single “Bdytlk”. They weren’t exactly going glittery – I wasn’t expecting, or hoping, that they do – but it did send that message: we’re going for something more ambitious. B T T R (again, no vowels) doesn’t change the template, however. It has the same qualities and issues as their previous record, Honeymoon: at its best, an ability to make you move; at its worst, it’s uneven. Well, actually, B T T R lacks cohesion to me. It may be the lanky production, how things are allowed to linger a split-second too long, diluting the impact of most groove-led segments. Again, it may be in how it flutters up and down the tempo scale, killing off momentum. (“Love + U” and “Dapat Sana” are two strong tracks, but they shouldn’t be sitting alongside each other.) I think I’m ultimately disappointed at how this record feels smug and complacent, especially at a time when their funk has become a bit unremarkable, if not a bit monotonous. Perhaps it’s time to try on new clothes? [NB] | 2/5
“The next time Reese holds a collage-making workshop,” Rainy told me, “let me know. I want to join.” So, a little over five months ago, we stocked up on old magazines at Book Sale, bought a shiny new pair of scissors, and went to the workshop. Well, only she took part. I was just there hovering around, doing some pre-blogging (that would be our month-long series on OPM classics) and playing with some questions in my head.
Maybe it’s the weather when I listened to the record. Monday night, cool weather, with the worst of the rains long over but the idea of a few showers still lingering by. I wasn’t on the road, but rather on bed, doing some writing. Jensen and the Flips’ Honeymoon, their debut LP, slotted into that mindset quite well: 47 minutes of sprawling funk-flavored jazz-licked alternative, of pretty tight musicianship and astute words, enough (or more so) to get you shuffling your butt in your car seat. Of course, I wish it did better transitions: while not completely uneven, I felt the tracks jumped around a bit too much considering the genre’s characteristics. But that’s a minor quibble. The record is cohesive enough, but the sequencing builds up to the apparent crowd favorite “Borrowed”, a quiet closer that feels like a proper pay-off, if anything. [NB] | 4/5