J*Davey, ‘The Beauty in Distortion/The Land of the Lost’ (Interdependent Media)
The seeds of pop music’s future were sown when African Americans cultivated early-’80s European synth pop and developed the DIY disco of hip-hop, house, and today’s digitized R&B. Yet, bizarrely, there’s never been a black Eurythmics. J*DaVeY fills that vacuum and then some. Freaking futuristic electro jazz, retro-soul bittersweetness, next-level hip-hop schematics, and punk-funk sleaze on a suavely savage double-disc debut, this Los Angeles duo specializes in baby-making music for 22nd-century robots.
Keyboard commander Brook D’Leau induces undulating tunes that coax rather than grab, while vocalist vixen Jack Davey blows barbed-wire kisses with a post-coital sigh. Gradually decelerating until it gently chops and screws itself, The Beauty In Distortion EP demonstrates the pair’s skillful seduction, even when showing errant lovers the exit. Opening track “Divisions of Joy” sexes up Joy Division’s “Isolation,” turning a cry of seclusion into carnal communion.
The Land of the Lost mixtape half showcases sharpMC tongues, onstage sass, and rhythms so woozy they nearly require Dramamine to ride. Throughout, D’Leau compensates for Davey’s thin pipes with hazy broad strokes that sometimes obscure the lyrics but add a crucial, hypnotic counterpoint to her confrontational charisma: Check the video for “Mr. Mister,” where she makes love to a crash-test dummy. You can’t get any more synth pop than that.