Record of the Week
We take you inside our favourite new albums with the artists who made them. We're sitting down with Brisbane indie-rockers The Jensens to chat about their sophomore album 'Hammer & Blush'.
It has been a long time leading up to the release of Hammer & Blush, the sophomore albumfrom Brisbane indie-pop-rockers The Jensens.
Recording for the album began all the way back at the tail end of 2019 – beginning right after the release of the band’s debut album Hyacinth Haze – but like so much of our music industry, the band hit several roadblocks in the face of COVID.
Inspired by the likes of Tame Impala, MGMT and Pond, what resulted is an album that sees The Jensens pushing their sound, exploring themes of love and hate, of identity, technology, hope, despair, and much more.
The sonic exploration on Hammer & Blush sees The Jensens dive into and combine a world of sounds – from old world tones of the ‘60s and ’70 to house-inspired beats, sun-drenched indie rock melodies, pop hooks, horn sections, a string quartet and more. In every way, this is The Jensens pushing the boundaries of their interpretation of pop music – and it absolutely works.
Joe and I instinctually took different paths lyrically, yet there are many parallels to be found. Love and hate, technology and AI, time and space, hope and despair. It helps to give the album a continuity and focus.Nathan Kendall, The Jensens
It’s equal parts fear of and optimism for the future, regret and pride for the past and an observation of what is.Joe White, The Jensens
Hammer & Blush is a stunning collection of music and storytelling. Exploding with emotion and energy, it is as much an assortment of personal anecdotes from the band as it is a message to everyone else – of comfort, hope, and acceptance.
The Jensens are no strangers to the stage, having supported the likes of Last Dinosaurs, The Vaccines, Kingswood, Bleeding Knees Club and more, and played at iconic festivals including Splendour In The Grass, Grampians Music Festival, Jungle Love, and Big Pineapple Festival.
To celebrate the release of the band’s sophomore album, we sat down with The Jensens frontman Joe White to take us on a deep dive through Hammer & Blush.
The Jensens Story
“Hey I’m Joe, I sing, play guitar, keys and bass on Hammer & Blush”
From the beginning
Joe White, The Jensens: “I started making music when I got back from living in Africa with my parents on a Christian missions trip for a year in Uganda. I really discovered the power of music while over there and came home and taught myself to play guitar. I met Bodi and Nathan on the Sunshine Coast and we’ve been in bands together since high school.”
What you’ll hear
“Our sound now is a mix of indie rock, classic pop, electronic and dance music, and slick ’70s FM radio. It’s been a lot of trial and error, experimenting, seeing what works live and how far we can go with an idea while still retaining our integrity in identity.”
Inside the Hammer & Blush creative process
“The three of us each brought what we thought were our best songs to each other and filtered them down to the ones we thought fit together and created a vibe and a world. We started fleshing them out and as we added lyrics and more layers they started to glue together and tell a story of our feelings about love, life, the state of things, the future and where we’re headed.
“We used to jam on a few chords and a beat, write some lyrics and play the thing ’til it sounded right – the process is much more studio based now. Coming up with an idea, you just lay it on and listen back to see if it fits, there’s a lot more listening and a lot less playing.”
Tell us the story
“The album is about love, loss, identity and sexuality, the quickly oncoming future and the can of worms that is modern technology and how we have no idea what’s in store for us as a modern society.
“As soon as we released our last album Hyacinth Haze, we had started working on Hammer & Blush. We knew we wanted to make a solid body of work that covered all the sonic bases that were influencing us at the time. We fed in all of our thoughts and concerns and feelings about the world around us and nurtured it until it resembled something that we felt represented a time and a place in our career.”
Down memory lane
“My favourite memory from creating the record is when we all went out to my parent’s house in Samford for a couple of nights while they were away. We set up every bit of equipment we had, bought a few bottles of wine, rolled some joints, and created some of the funnest, most intricate parts of the album.”
“That the world is a beautiful twisted place.”
Say it in a sentence
Hammer & Blush is…”A group of friends embarking on a journey through the murky waters of modernity to try and find something real.”
For the love of music
“Sometimes I find it hard to communicate how I really feel when having a conversation with someone or maybe the feeling of nobody paying attention to what you’re saying when you’re really trying to get something off your chest. Music is a way I find I can lure someone in with a beat and a hook, get them to step into my world, and from there I’m free to really speak my mind and communicate directly what it is that’s been occupying my thoughts.”
“The biggest achievement I can ever have is when someone says a song of ours really connected with them and either opened their mind to a new way of thinking or helped them through a hard time, or even just made them feel like they weren’t alone. That’s the real highlight for me.”
Overcoming struggle town
“Covid-19, need I say more? I think we’re all still overcoming that struggle, but for us it wasn’t great timing. We put out our first single and announced a tour and a week later Australia was in lockdown. We lost all of the funding for the album to be finished and had it 90% complete for over a year. Safe to say we’re glad we made it this far.”
The Jensens – Bert & Ernie
“I wrote this song about growing up queer in a Christian environment and feeling I had no role models, looking around at all of my friends, feeling like they had it all figured out and that I was somehow incompatible.”
The Jensens – Automatic
“Nathan’s really fired up on this track, painting a picture of firing synapses, lightning strikes and soul uploads. Questioning the difference between human brains and computer codes. One of our funkiest records to date.”
The Jensens – DEUS
“Another one from the funk side of things. I wrote this track about societal addictions like internet porn and dating apps, something our generation seems to be plagued by. The story follows a protagonist who can’t get off sexually, nor can he get off of his multiple devices, ultimately falling in love with an operating system who communicates with him through his computer. Featuring an amazing guest vocal by Kerry Raywood of Pink Matter and a tortured sax solo from our good friend Julian Palma.”
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