Victoria & Jacob – With No Certainty 7″

Victoria & Jacob - When All Else Fails 7"

It’s a few months now since I last wrote about London electro-pop duo Victoria & Jacob, and at long last their new single ‘With No Certainty’ has arrived. Almost: it’s out this weekend. I’ve been listening to it quite a bit over the last few months, and the pair’s dreamy melodic pop has dug its hooks into me. It helps that Victoria has one of those voices that I can’t help but fall a little bit in love with. I’m a sucker for female singers, me.

The lead track opens with layers of weird, squawking beats and gentle melodic synth lines, over which Victoria offers her vocal talents and increasingly strong lyrics: “I looked into the mirror too, to see what my body meant. I don’t know what this means“. A new trick is that a lot of the effects Jacob uses are heavily modified samples of Victoria’s voice; not a unique gimmick, but one used to great effect in this simple but warm and catchy tune. To accommodate this new method of songwriting they’ve abandoned the extraneous instruments used in earlier material, making The Postal Service an even more unavoidable comparison. It’s not that accurate, though, as the two outfits are only really similar in what they do, not how they do it.

B-side ‘There’s A War’ is a slower and altogether more minimalistic affair, again blending gentle beats with a simple melody over which Victoria’s sweet and soft vocals drift along, carrying her wistful lyrics: “There’s a war between our developments and our animal; evil doesn’t exist, we’re all natural in state”. Thematically I’m not really in agreement with what the song is pushing at but it’s good to see the duo’s subject matter extending beyond more predictable personal territory.

I’ve also been sent a third track, ‘What’s Your Face’. No idea where this one is from – maybe a second b-side on an alt 7″ – but it’s more of the same in a good way. More up-tempo than ‘There’s A War’, and utilising a really nice harmonising effect to give the choruses some extra depth, it’s a catchy tune that layers vocals on vocals. Lyrically it’s more personal in nature than either ‘With No Certainty’ or ‘There’s A War’, addressing an unnamed other person with a faintly sad sense of longing, and its choruses utilise similar tricks to the title track.

Overall the three songs demonstrate an increased confidence and maturity, both in terms of sonic experimentation and lyrical depth. It will be interesting to see where they go next.

In the meantime, they’ve been running a remix competition, and here’s my favourite of the bunch so far. It’s not the most ambitious effort in the world to my ears, leaving the song mostly intact but putting a more 90s dancey sort of spin on it (yeah, I don’t know a damned thing about dance music, I know). There have been more ambitious efforts but they didn’t really resonate with me. Actually, here, have the ZAFLON remix as well. The crescendo at the end is awesome, but I really hate that shitty breakdown about two and a half minutes in. Your mileage may vary.

Victoria & Jacob | Voga Parochia | MySpace |

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