Finnish trio Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? release their frenetic blast of a new record Jazzbelle 1984/1988
Photo Credit Heidi Kero
‘it’s hard not to be suckered into their glee.’’ The Line of Best Fit — ‘carnival-ready, synth-powered garage rock’ Drowned In Sound — ‘While it’s wild in its intent, they’ve honed in on their ability to craft captivating choruses, making Jazzbelle 1984/1988 their most refined work to date.’ Gold Flake Paint
Finnish 3-piece Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? release their second album Jazzbelle 1984/1988 today (January 19th 2018).
Across the course of 11 ‘flower-garage’ tunes, each catchier and more chaotic than the last, HYESTJFAVHS? establish themselves as one of the most exciting and infectious bands to come out of Scandinavia in recent years.
The trio have carved out a unique sound for themselves, opting to use keyboards instead of guitars. This is after songwriter Ekku Lintunen and drummer Janne-Petteri Pitkälä, on seeing the film Drive, instantly decided to form an 80s synth-pop band as a side project to the garage-rock act they were in at the time. When Susse Stemma-Sihvola came in on vocals, bringing her scuzzed out bass tones with her, it ended up being garage-rock with a twist.
They are further shaped by the aesthetic and sonics of the underground cassette culture punk bands in their small town of Kouvola rely on, as well as the thread of styles that have tied the town’s musical history together through the decades. A mish-mash of 60s girl-groups, punk, glam, grunge and NYC/Manchester indie coming together to generate their electrifying style.
“Rock music scene in Kouvola has some similarities as the Seattle scene in late80’s-early 90’s.” Lintunen says “’tough’ genres ranging from HC-punk to guitar driven alt-rock creates a ‘Kouvola Sound’. Many bands (us included) have their own rehearsal space in an old accordion factory. If you need to borrow an amplifier or mics, that’s never been a problem. A kind of a commune, some might say. We’ve played and/or toured with many great Kouvolian bands, such as Lasten Hautausmaa, The Mutants, Barefoot Brothers, Gretel’s Moonlight Motel, Kivesveto Go-Go, Eetu & Tuukka Avokämmennellä, The Souls, and every single time it’s been a blast.”
Lintunen likens his songwriting to crafting surreal movies. Starting with a picture in his mind, he throws out lyrical phrases to create this image for the listener. Enough is held back though that there are more questions than answers. Like all great films, the listener interprets as they do.
Throughout, the album is two-tone. At times playful, and pop-centric, at others darker, more intense. Across the 11 tracks presented HYESTJFAVHS? make whimsical references to He-Man, and Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy as well as including a track titled Hanky Panky. However, there’s also a sadder element – it’s a semi-breakup album, half the tracks written pre- and post-. Hence, there are explorations of both the excitement and disappointment of love.
After their debut album Teenage Sweetheart was released in autumn 2015 the trio have been praised in the international music media, and gathered fans around the world. This includes support from BBC Radio’s Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq, Phil Taggart, Chris Hawkins and Tom Ravenscroft, and the likes of Consequence of Sound, Forbes, Drowned in Sounds, MTV Iggy, The Line of The Best Fit and Clash Magazine.
As well as the above media acclaim, they are routinely picked out as live highlights at Europe’s buzziest festivals (Roskilde Festival (DK), Flow Festival (FI),Pohoda (SK), Reeperbahn Festival (DE), The Great Escape (UK), Farm Fest (UK), Kendal Calling (UK), Eurosonic (NL) and Europavox (FR)).
The sophomore album from Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? Jazzbelle 1984/1988 is out now via VILD.
Jazzbelle 1984/1988 Track-listing
1. Magic Swimming Pants
3. The Heman Song
8. Hanky Panky
10. Bambi act
28th April – Are You Listening? Festival, Reading
30th April – The Old Blue Last, London