Los Angeles-based queer indie-rock outfit Jacklen Ro has finally unveiled their new album Sunshine, I’m Counting on You! an exquisitely radiant and lush collection of songs well-suited for keeping fall and winter gloominess at bay. At its center is the duo of Jackie Giroux and Caelen Perkins — two best friends whose shared harmonies and tenderhearted songwriting make Jacklen Ro so nostalgia-tickling. On their latest, the band wraps themselves in sunny melodies and hazy rock sonics, dipping in and out of a delirium-soaked bliss that fuels their unabashed attempt to capture life in all its blinding romantic beauty.
The album opener and title track set the tone for the whole collection, a dreamily winding wailer hitched to Giroux and Perkins’ melancholic but hopeful prayer — sometimes all you have is the hope of another sunny day. Ebbing and flowing between all of life’s moments, from lying awake at 6 A.M. filling your mind with thoughts of the one you love on guitar-grumbling meets bedroom pop piece “Flower Gazin'” to the punchy love-gushing rollicker “Sunshine Girl.”
Then there’s “Made of Sugar,” one of the last singles to arrive for the album, a song that tracks the ways pining for a particularly enamoring lover can be bittersweet. “You gave me just a taste / To crave it save your name just to erase it,” they howl against the song’s jumpy riffs and emotional kineticism. Written to describe the frustrating ways an on-and-off again relationship can weigh down the person who actually wants to take things to the next level, the music video follows Giroux and Perkins on their cross-country journey to meet the other person in the middle.
Even at their most bleak, like on the woeful lamentations of “Time Bomb,” the band finds a way to insert their tongue-in-cheek wit into a song about a ready-to-self-destruct relationship (“I’m intense / But I’m a ten love”). While on “Dance All Alone” they rally against the idea of loneliness by holding onto the person (and moments) that keep it at bay, going from acoustic strums to a folk-tinged rip-roaring anthem.
Other sublime standouts include the swooning “Life With You” and the gently lilting romancer “Paradise (Lily)” — the perfect track to end the album — with its echoes of a picturesque beachside and the fading warmth of summer love still kissing your face.
“‘Sunshine, I’m Counting On You!’ is an album inspired by the city. It is about being on the rollercoaster of love and just letting it take you no matter the lows or highs (just like living in LA hahaha),” Jacklen Ro explained. “There is a more mature, fulfilled version of being in love that we felt while creating this album, and it explores both sides of that ‘young adult’ type of relationship. This album is supposed to embody passion, fire, and just letting the emotions be amped up to 11. Life is crazy; romanticize everything you can, and let it be crazy.”
Words by Steven Ward
Listen to Sunshine, I’m Counting on You! the new album from Jacklen Ro below!