jj n° 3
With their airy sound and fey demeanor, jj are often labeled as twee pop, but there’s nothing cutesy or precious about jj n° 3, their second nine-song, 27-minute platter in nine months — no twinkling glockenspiels and not much overt whimsy. Instead, the group specializes in atmospheric dream pop, much of which isn’t far removed from Slowdive’s more ambient moments. Some of the material could use a little ballast to keep from disappearing into the ether, but this merely brings into sharper relief the excellence of melodically sturdy songs like “You Know” and “Into the Light,” whose shimmering synths and spring-like textures recall Republic-era New Order, right down to the unmistakably allusive Peter Hook-style bass. jj aren’t always easy to get a handle on, but their concision is refreshing, and at its best, their music is as inviting as warm sunlight.