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BEAVERCORE EP Matthew Horton , October 13th, 2020 08:39

From a drawing room in autumn sunshine to Rufus Wainwright fed through a mincer, Jockstrap's latest EP proves as hard to pin down as ever, finds Matthew Horton

Conservatoire-trained twisted electro-futurists Georgia Ellery and Taylor Skye met at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and clearly have no idea yet what they’re meant to be. In the meantime, they’ve been spending a couple of years treating us to EPs that mix baroque synthetic pop with semi-classical jaunts, before tearing them up again and releasing a remixed version. Beavercore takes this year’s Wicked City – plus some new compositions – and relocates it somewhere else entirely. Usually somewhere good.

It starts with the remixes. Skye’s revisions have occasionally found the glittering wannabe chart smash hidden away in Jockstrap’s more outré adventures – just take the Lost My Key In The <3 Club <3 version of the Love Is The Key To The City EP’s ‘Charlotte’, a handbag house spin on the original’s vaudevillian nightmare. Some songs have a second life; that was a millennium of reincarnations in three and a half minutes. He has a good go at matching that here. ‘Acid’ started as an ornate, delicate showtune on Wicked City, but ‘acid VAPOURWAVE rap RMX’ – as the untethered typography suggests – is completely bats, with pitched-down vocals sounding like Rufus Wainwright fed through a mincer, buffeted by bursts of white noise. It’s so disorientating, there’s barely a chance to decide if it’s a good idea or not.

The soft rock meets PC Music anthem ‘City Hell’ from the Wicked City EP becomes a Latin guitar-flecked hip swing in its ‘($TAYLA$ CLUB MIX)’ guise. Well, at least until it accelerates to near-gabber speeds and leaves your brain frying on the hob. ‘niños y Niñas TaylorBASSMIX’ is just an eerie backwards ballad with sickly harp strings set to a four-to-the-floor beat, made for chucking up on the dancefloor.

Any refinement’s saved for Ellery’s set of ‘Beavercore’ piano arrangements, making up the second half of the EP. Initially conventional, pieces soon reveal their odd side, perhaps not so far away from the demented remixes that brought us here after all. ‘Beavercore 1’ is the safest, redolent of a drawing room in autumn sunshine, an air of acceptant melancholy, only unusual in its peppering of synths, but ‘Beavercore 2’ pulls a bit of silent-movie jazz out of some serious reverb, introducing Wurlitzer and rubbery record scratches, anything but classical. Frankly, the aliens land on ‘Beavercore 3’, coming down in a spinning top while we earthlings foxtrot around them. These aren’t ordinary piano excursions.

But they were never going to be. Possibly too clever by half, Jockstrap grab the attention at least, and thrill at their best. God alone knows where they’re going next.