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But We Have the Music

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Album Review

Taking its title from Leonard Cohen lyrics, It's Jo and Danny's third album, But We Have the Music, is another stunner. Generally noisier and more upbeat than Thugs Lounge, But We Have the Music doesn't feel as rooted in folk music as its immediate predecessor. The pastoral ballads "Mean" and "The Sooner" aren't too much of a departure from Thugs Lounge, but "A.N.D." is downright danceable, bearing a striking sonic resemblance to Saint Etienne. Indeed, the album is similar in tone to the more experimental Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy, as Jo Bartlett and Danny Hagan channel influences ranging from Cohen to Slowdive to Saint Etienne to New Order and Brian Eno (just listen to the background sounds of "Better Off"). As always, a number of the tracks are vocal-free, but because of the broader range of musical genres explored here, these instrumentals don't feel out of place. "Let It Happen" is perhaps the finest of the album's standout tracks, as Bartlett's sweet, yearning vocals pull heartstrings some listeners might not know they had. Any review of an It's Jo and Danny album would be bereft without mentioning the criminally underrated and needlessly obscure status of the band. It always seems like a cliché when a music journalist mentions that a certain band would be massive in a perfect world, but It's Jo and Danny is that kind of band. But We Have the Music might not feel as innovative as Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy (if only because one knows what greatness to expect when the words "It's Jo and Danny" appear on an album sleeve), but it's a wonderful album nonetheless, brimming with glorious melodies, beautiful vocals, and all-around just some of the best music of its time.

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But We Have the Music, It's Jo & Danny
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