Jockstrap performing at Terminal West in 2023Shneepzz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After steadily releasing several varied and eclectic EPs, London-based experimental pop duo Jockstrap released their debut album I Love You Jennifer B in September 2022. Vocalist and instrumentalist Georgia Ellery (also a member of Black Country, New Road) and producer Taylor Skye created a record that was structurally and sonically confounding yet emotionally immediate, slipping between genres and forms easily and playfully, often in a single song. The work established the pair as an ascendant force in British music, garnering widespread acclaim and a Mercury prize nomination.

I<3UQTINVU (read as “I love you cutie, I envy you”), a reimagined version of that record, follows a whirlwind year that has seen them open for Blur and play Glastonbury. Defying categorisation as a straightforward remix album, the record doesn't neatly reimagine one track at a time. Indeed, the first, ‘Sexy’, featuring an endearing appearance from fellow Londoner Babymorocco, combines textures, melodies, and vocals from no less than three songs.

“The record does not neatly reimagine one track at a time”

Ellery’s strangely evocative sing-song verses on the original album’s title track (“Bring you to the apartment that I’d like to own / Tell you that I’m broke when we’re all alone”) receive a darker treatment on the excellent ‘Good Girl’, which simplifies Jennifer B’s unconventional structure but adds a relentless four-on-the floor drumbeat. The plaintive yearning of ‘What’s It All About’ is transformed into something radically different on ‘I Noticed You’. Australian musician Kirin J Callinan contributes spoken vocals, which become increasingly urgent as the song progresses, building to a white-hot expression of desire that seems to strain the very fabric of the song. Something must break. Thus, the feverish synth notes suddenly give way to a hurried garage beat.

Jockstrap have always been obsessed with “the city”: feelings of connection and isolation, the falling in love and inevitable disillusionment. Jennifer B’s standout ‘Concrete Over Water’ was the apotheosis of this concept, juxtaposing the warmth of its soaring, balladic verses with jarring bursts of electronic steel. ‘All roads lead to London’, its remix, features rising artist Coby Sey, who ruminates upon these ideas, often to great effect (“London’s built on the contradiction of hard steel and thin ice”). But it eschews the musical chiaroscuro of the original and consequently loses some of its brilliance. ‘Red Eye’ suffers a similar problem: the pastoral yet fraught atmosphere cleverly built into original opener ‘Neon’ is gone, with only the distorted percussion and discordant guitar retained. These elements are almost comically pitched and sped up, providing a chaotic and tinny backdrop to IAN STARR’s abrasive verses. It’s an exhausting listen.

“Sadly absent from the record is a remix of their glimmering single ‘Greatest Hits’”

Sadly absent from the record is a remix of their glimmering single ‘Greatest Hits’, a slice of retro-sounding pop perfection with a spoken bridge that would have lent itself to a dance-focused reimagining. ‘Glasgow’, perhaps their biggest hit to date, is sped up but largely recognisable on ‘I Touch’, with Ellery’s final lyrics (“I know myself / Going round again”) looping into oblivion, actualising the song’s cyclical themes. The beautiful yet uneasy harp instrumental of ‘Angst’ is retained in its similarly non-transformational remix, ‘I Feel’, as are the striking lyrics about Ellery’s experience of a panic attack. But here Skye introduces a minimal pulsing beat, driving the song towards its conclusion, which is somehow tauter and more insistent than on the original.


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Throughout I<3UQTINVU, Ellery’s voice is continually manipulated and modulated. Lyrics are chopped and spliced, sometimes for narrative effect (‘I Touch’) but almost always in a way that heightens the interest of jittery and unpredictable musical textures. It’s evocative of techniques spearheaded by avant-pop pioneers like SOPHIE – not for obfuscation or trickery but to convey sincerity and emotion. Yet, the final song, ‘Sexy 2’, which lightly samples Jennifer B’s monstrous closer ‘50/50’, is unlike anything we’ve heard so far on the album. Opening with warm acoustic guitar, Ellery’s folksy vocals, intimate and close, document infatuation on a night out (“I’ve fallen for a girl; I just met her on the floor”). It’s a beautiful new composition and a fitting coda to a record that is most effective when it dares to radically transform the original material.

I<3UQTINVU is a thrilling but occasionally uneven record that unpredictably reinterprets existing songs while offering a glimpse of something new. Newcomers to Jockstrap’s dizzying experimentation may be better off first listening to I Love You Jennifer B, which remains a remarkable debut. Those already drawn into their kaleidoscopic world will no doubt enjoy this harder-hitting, more volatile interpretation.