Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS - 'Jazzbelle 1984 / 1988'
I probably need to start off with a bit of a confession and an apology when it comes to 'Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS' because we've never actually featured them in Nordic Music Review, despite first coming across them in the very early weeks of the website. They are, after all, a band that you can't quite forget the name of, and I have considered writing about them a number of times, but for one reason or another I've never quite got to them. Thankfully the latest album 'Jazzbelle 1984 / 1988' gives us an opportunity to correct our slackness, as the Finnish band have released a post punk album packed full of brazen colourful tunes and occasionally nonsense lyrics - and all of it is great fun to listen to.
It opens with the brilliantly titled 'Magic Swimming Pants', probably because no-one has ever written a song about magic swimming pants previously, and it has bright synths that blast out the main melodic theme, and a high tempo and a slightly addictive feel. But if 'Magic Swimming Pants' will be buzzing around your head all day, wait until you get to 'The Heman Song', which simply bounds along with an almost outrageous sense of youthful exuberance.
'Corazone' might be my least favourite track on the album, probably because it lacks the energy of previous songs, but the pace picks up with 'Sheep', yet another track which is led by a metallic sounding organ, but then opens up with a huge sing-a-long chorus - I particularly love the change in tempo introduced half way through. But actually the best is still to come. 'Teeth' launches into a whirlwind of frenetic garage pop, whilst 'Mareride' is a real favourite with an irresistible melody and 'What Would Phil Dunphy Do?' goes straight onto the favourite household playlist quite simply because of our love of all things Modern Family. Concluding track 'Period' has a huge anthemic feel, certainly one of my favourite tracks for a long while.
I'm struggling to think of an album that has quite such an amazing energy about it, power pop meeting garage pop and such a continual stream of melodies hurled in our direction. Whether 'Jazzbelle 1984 / 1988' has a 'longevity' about it in terms of being a favourite album for years to come is doubtful, maybe I haven't yet quite identified with it enough lyrically, or even understood it to that extent, but I still highly recommend it. I would love to see this band perform live (we need to get them to Manchester...), their shows must be riotously good fun, but actually their vibrancy and enthusiasm does translate really well into the full album, and this is pretty much guaranteed to put a huge smile on your face.
Nordic Music Review 8/10