It's an amazing feat when a mere four songs contain as many ideas and as much fun as the JeanMarie's debut EP. The title alone What's a Revolution Without Backup Dancers? hints at the highbrow pop playfulness of this Miami quintet. And right from the kickstart opening of "Late Last Night" grungy guitar, squiggly synth, simmering cymbal-and-bass-drum boogie it's clear that these guys are serious about their good times. Bouncy but hardly light, dignified with a Brit-like swagger but truly, effortlessly soulful, the JeanMarie makes funk-fueled dance rock that's both passionate and unabashedly silly. No surprise that the band is composed of UM grads and that Revolution was made with the help of close friends MJ and B-Rob from Awesome New Republic. Both bands share a way of winking with a straight face, of letting go while tightening up, that's pretty accomplished for such young acts. With "Late Last Night" and its follow-up, "Delancey Street," two songs flaunting all the studio depth, hook-heavy songwriting, and general greatness of a major-label production, you've got the best one-two combo of the local year so far. "Delancey" is especially accomplished, a multilayered, midtempo epic of growing up in the big city. Singer Jason Scott, singing "Got a flask in my pocket but it is leaking/You can tear off all my clothes and try to suck it out," reveals a uniquely timbred voice that's half Tweedy-esque yearning and half Strummerish boast. While not as immediate or concise, the second half of the EP comes awfully close to measuring up to the first; ambitious album closer "Madame St. Clair" gets swept up into a warm, fuzak meditation before pogoing into a goony, upbeat coda. For all you fans of multitasking: This is music that manages to be many things simultaneously, and all of them are good.
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