Jamaica

Ventura

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    8
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Jamaica's sophomore album and U.S. debut, 2014's Ventura, is a fun, often dance-oriented mix of '70s and '80s-influenced melodic soft rock and new wave pop. Clearly cut from the same neo-vintage cloth as their French contemporaries Phoenix, Jamaica showcase the talents of Antoine Hilaire (vocals, guitar) and Flo Lyonnet (bass, vocals). The album, which started out as a recording project in a rented house on Ventura Boulevard (hence the title) in Los Angeles with producer Peter J. France, was finished in Paris with Laurent d'Herb├ęcourt, who previously worked on Phoenix's Bankrupt! Not surprisingly, there are some similarities between Phoenix and Jamaica, with Hilaire and Lyonnet clearly sharing a love of vintage soft rock, disco, and electronic music. Essentially, with Ventura, Jamaica amp up the '70s and early-'80s influences of their 2010 debut, No Problem, with a set of immediately catchy songs. "Houdini" sounds something along the lines of Marc Bolan fronting ELO, while "All Inclusive" sounds like a combination of the Fixx and Player. Similarly, the synth-heavy "Ferris Wheeler" is a romantic anthem perfectly suited for an '80s teen comedy, while cuts like the very Tubes-esque "Ricky" and the psychotic, video game-ready instrumental "Turbo" reveal Jamaica's more theatrical, hard-rocking side. Which isn't to say that Jamaica just sound like a collection of musical influences. On the contrary, Jamaica have enough of their own quirky likableness and vocal style to always register as a completely unique entity, albeit one that wouldn't sound out of place on late-'70s and early-'80s AM radio.

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