There’s a really good piece over on The Quietus today about JJ72‘s first album, as well as an interview with frontman Mark Greaney that’s worth reading.
I can’t believe that this album is ten years old. It’s one of the first times in my life that I’ve felt like I’m getting old. I absolutely adored JJ72 when it was released. I Tipp-Exed their name on my schoolbag, bought the t-shirts and even (only half-jokingly) referred to a classmate whose brother was friends with the drummer as ‘Fergal’s friend’s sister’. I remember queuing up outside the Olympia in the freezing snow a few days before my 17th birthday and seeing them for the first time, and again, when they supported the Manics in Smithfield later that summer. They were a band that I was religiously devoted to, in the way that only a teenager who wants to avoid their homework and spend hours copying lyrics onto their A4 refill pads can be.
Nowadays it’s cool to dismiss them as also-rans or never-weres. But that first album remains one of my favourite Irish records ever. ‘Oxygen’, ‘Long Way South’ and ‘October Swimmer’ are just great songs. I’m going to listen to it tonight, and remember what it was like to fall in love with a band when you’re 16.
EDIT: This is extremely sad, but I also just remembered that I wrote a letter – yes, a letter – to Lakota, their label at the time, to ask them to send me something signed. Did I get a reply? Did I ‘eck. Lakota, you owe me!
*Back in the day, I was told on good authority (the friend of a friend of a friend who was friends with Mark’s sister’s friend) that the JJ stood for ‘Jam Jar’ as there were 72 jam jars lining the walls of the art room they used to practice in at school. Somehow I doubt it, but I suppose it’s as likely as any other explanation…