Since their formation back in 2016, JOVM mainstays No Swoon — Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths, baas) — have developed an established sound that sees the pair meshing elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave through two releases, 2018’s EP 1 and 2019’s ’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled full-length debut.
Much like countless others across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic, threw the the lives and plans of the JOVM mainstays into disarray: their planned tour to support their full-length debut had to be scrapped entirely. After spending the past five years in Brooklyn, the duo relocated to Los Angeles. And understandably, spending over a year in quarantine-imposed isolation forced the pair to step back and think about their lives in new ways — and to examine the intricacies of going through life as we know it.
During the pandemic, the duo released a couple of singles during the pandemic: The Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins meets Slowdive like Again,” a single that marked massive, life-altering transitions for the duo: their aforementioned return back West paired with a reworked sound and approach.
As the JOVM mainstays explained in press notes, “This song is about when days begin and end with no real definition. About being stuck in the loop of our life and we can’t get out. It may come to no surprise that this song was written early on in the Pandemic. Before everything shut down, I (Tasha) was constantly moving: work, music, sleep, etc., and being at stand-still all of a sudden was definitely strange (on top of the already terror and stress of the pandemic).”
“Again” will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Take Your Time. Slated for a Friday release, the lion share of Take Your Time was recorded by the band in Western Massachusetts, amidst the isolation of pandemic related quarantine — with the band’s Nestel-Patt taking up engineering duties during the initial recording sessions. The album features guest spots from longtime collaborator Jon Smith (drums), along with Furrows‘ and Olden Yolk’s Peter Wagner (guitar). Jake Aaron contributed some additional production and Chris Coady mixed the album, pushing the material into something otherworldly.
Take Your Time‘s material was conceived and written during both personal and global transitions and turmoil — but while celebrating a joyful acceptance of the paths that have lead each of us to where we are right now. About the album’s themes, No Swoon’s Abbott contends, “We are so hard on ourselves for decisions we made years ago. I have plenty of regrets, but I also see it as a process, and it’s ok that I didn’t realize the hopes and dreams of 20-year old me. What did she know anyways?”
In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two more singles:
“Besides,” Take Your Time‘s first official single that sonically nods a bit at JOVM mainstays Beach House, but was inspired by a wild, enigmatic dream the band’s Tasha Abbott once had in which, while exploring a mysterious cavern, she stumbled upon a secret and apparently blissful cult with ambiguous intentions.
“I have some really weird dreams,” Abbott said in press notes. “They are often these wide-ranging sci-fi stories. This song is part 2 of the same dream that inspired a song on our first record ‘Don’t wake up, wake up‘. That dream had ended with meandering into a cave that turned out to be the home to a cult where everyone looked the same and seemed very ‘happy.’ Though, obviously they were not very happy because it was a cult. I eventually got out.”
“Wait to See,” a simultaneously brushing and dreamily introspective song centered around a maelstrom of synths, driving percussion and blown out bass paired with Abbott’s ethereal vocals that Abbott explains is about growing up and getting older.
“We’re talking to our younger selves who had very specific dreams and ideas of how our lives would pan out. But as we all know, the hopes and dreams we had at 15 are usually not our realities when we grow up.. We could look back and be upset that we didn’t become who we had hoped to be, or we could relish the new ideas and new dreams, and be ok with where we are. This song is about how looking back now, you can see the path that led to where we are now and how we wish we could tell our younger selves to be kind to who we will grow up to be.”
“Spare the Time,” Take Your Time‘s final single is a slow-burning and wistful track centered around buzzing guitars, fluttering synths paired with Abbott’s plaintive vocals begging and invoking a creative muse to inhabit her — if only for a brief period of time. “Spare the Time” will feel familiar to those, who have suffered through writer’s block, and have a deadline to complete something.