Jono Grant of Above & Beyond and Darren Tate teamed up to become JODA, and their self-titled debut album is filled with nostalgia.
Jono Grant and Darren Tate need no introduction. With over twenty years of experience between them, both have an extensive list of accolades, whether it’s with Above & Beyond for Grant or as a repeat Top 40 UK hits maker for Tate. Both briefly collaborated in 2003, but in 2019 were brought back together to provide the score for the documentary The Last Glaciers. From this creative process, inspiration sparked, and JODA was born.
With true unbounded passion stemming from this spark and time to create during the pandemic, Grant and Tate were able to shape the JODA project without constraint. The result is their self-titled debut album JODA, out now on Anjunabeats. “Jono and I love making music, we get on well together, so we have fun doing it,” said Tate. “We naturally have perfectionist instincts, but the vibe is the most important thing. So this is also rough around the edges in all the right ways.”
Stream JODA – JODA on Spotify:
“Fall Away” and enter the world of JODA, filled with nostalgic and vintage synths that will transport listeners back in time.
Calming piano chords build with reverberation before strings enter the mix. The track then falls back to reveal vocals and the synthwave goodness that binds the album together. “We Find Ourselves” then being swept into a darker, four-on-the-floor offering and the debut track from the pair. The energy picks up a minute in with ascending notes carrying the melody. Halfway through, the track becomes ambient, as if we find ourselves in an underwater cove, surrounded by glistening synths and a captivating vocal.
Robyn Sherwell lends her vocal talents on “Closer,” whose lyrics illuminate yearning as oscillating notes and a rolling bassline drive this club-ready track forward. It’s hard not to be taken by this one. In “Breaking Down Walls,” listeners can hear aspects of Above & Beyond in the backsound, complimented by bright snares and hopeful lyrics about the power of love.
Halfway through the album, listeners are treated to a breath of “Air” with its beautiful, opening piano melody that then meets slow-melting synthwork.
The retro grooves continue with the previously released single “Shape Of Your Heart,” which is upbeat and puts a fresh spin on the best of dance-pop. JODA then keeps listeners on their toes by incorporating more acoustic percussive instruments in “Spark,” which surprisingly pair well with intergalactic sounds that fly about throughout the build. The hook is more progressive in nature, and the vocals harken back to ’80s new wave.
As the album nears its end, the fun doesn’t stop as JODA makes listeners “Smile” and sway to the beat with another vocally driven track. They then will have everyone “Coming Alive” with a post-apocalyptic tale, lifted up on epic synth chords atop a syncopated guitar for a full-bodied sound. Everything comes to a close, making sure that “No One Walks Away” without feeling moved by the sonic journey they’ve just taken.
With the rise of ’80s nostalgia and synthwave influences across many aspects of pop culture, JODA straddles the line between classic electronic production and modernity that is perfect for today.
The album is an incredible listen from start to finish and will not only take you back in time but is a great soundtrack to the transitionary phase between summer and fall. This album has wide-reaching appeal and will speak to fans both familiar and unacquainted to the duo. Take a drive or wind down your evening activities with JODA, which will leave fans clamoring for more of this passion project from Grant and Tate.
JODA – JODA – Tracklist:
- Fall Away
- We Find Ourselves
- Closer (feat. Robyn Sherwell)
- Breaking Down Walls
- Shape Of Your Heart
- Dark Strings
- Coming Alive
- No One Walks Away