It had been three years since Jamaica's debut album 'No Problem', when at the end of last year, the duo Antoine Hilaire and Florent Lyonnet emerged with news of their long awaited second album and a brand new track 'Hello Again'.
'Ventura' is that second album, produced by Jamaica and Laurent d'Herbécourt(Phoenix), written and recorded between Los Angeles and Paris; it will be released onMarch 31st through Control Freak/[PIAS] Cooperative.
After the release of 'No Problem' - produced by Xavier de Rosnay (one half of Justice) - Jamaica quickly garnered attention with the killer singles 'I Think I Like U 2' and 'Short and Entertaining'. Having toured the world for two years, they began thinking about their next record, the pair felt ambitious, without any weight or pressure.
'Ventura' is fed by fantasies of American culture, gathered from records and films, and also, the reality they discovered while touring in the U.S. They spent a month withPeter Franco (Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories) in LA and mention a discovery in a literal sense: "We thought about for a while naming this album Pinta, Nina, Santa Maria, like one of Christopher Columbus's ships."
In the end, they named it 'Ventura'. For the musicians, the name reminds them of its literal translation of "luck" and "fate", but also of the 72 Pontiac and of course, of Ventura Boulevard, one of the biggest roads in the San Fernando valley.
It's on Ventura Boulevard where they worked with Peter Franco, they spent a month locked away in a house and its makeshift studio, surrounded by instruments borrowed from local musicians and having lots of guests dropping by. One day, TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe came by to sing soulful vocals on 'Golden Times'. Another day, Chris Caswell, longtime collaborator of Paul Williams, gave them a hand with a few keyboards arrangements.
When they returned to Paris, they headed to Laurent d'Herbécourt's (Phoenix) studio and found it the perfect place to finish their album. Unlike most studios, it's bathed in daylight: "To us, 'No Problem' shows a clubby and nightly aspect of the band, while 'Ventura' is meant to be the daylight album for Jamaica."
Antoine and Florent's belief in a more organic and analogue sound was strengthened by Laurent d'Herbécourt, who helped to mix the record: "While mixing, he definitely pushed us further towards a "radio" oriented direction, in the most noble and Fleetwood Mac sense of the word. A sunny pop that hides more sensibility when one really pays attention."
Songs like 'Two on Two', 'Golden Times', 'All Inclusive' or 'Ferris Wheeler' are fueled by this feel-good music to listen to while driving along the Pacific Ocean. Other tracks reveal new leads for Jamaica, from the post-surf of 'Turbo' and 'Same Smile' to 'Rushmore's power ballad. 'Ventura' deserves to be played on a car stereo; the album radiates as much nonchalance as it does sophistication. It toys with the idea of a fantasized West Coast, from San Diego to Seattle, discovered over and over through its past and present times.
Tracklisting: 1. Two on Two, 2. Hello Again, 3. Houdini, 4. Golden Times, 5. All Inclusive, 6. Ferris Wheeler, 7. High Then Low, 8. Ricky, 9. Rushmore, 10. Turbo, 11. Same Smile, 12. Goodbye Friday
Image credit: Romain Corvez