Emerging from starry darkness and building into a flurry of vivid, surreal images, and bursting synths, Jockstrap’s ‘Concrete Over Water’ is a rich and insightful exploration of the conflicting forces at play when existing in the modern city.
Across their releases to date, Jockstrap have played with the discordant ideas of the realities of city life at odds with abstract ideas of love and the self. From the soaring orchestral strings of their debut EP ‘Love Is The Key To The City’ to the glitch-pop inspired exploration of its darker underbelly in ‘Wicked City’ there is an overriding obsession with the struggle between the alluring personal and sexual freedoms of the city in competition with a desire for something deeper. Jockstrap’s balance of traditional classical elements merged with intrinsically modern dance-inspired synths embodies this.
In this way ‘Concrete Over Water’ feels like the epitome of what these EPs were building towards. A joyous yet troubled track consisting of two distinct elements seemingly in competition – one vulnerable and emotive, the other, an energetic, bewitching explosion of synth. The lyrics echo this motif further, describing how “in the night on the bridge we stood, concrete over water” – an image of a harsh city world being shaped by almost invisible but relentless natural forces, in the way that water slowly wears away at concrete.
As frontwoman Georgia Ellery admits “I’m glad you take me as I am… black or blue or filthy cheat I am” there is an act of confession, a desire for deeper emotional connection while falling victim to the seductive but fleeting appeal of the city. Throughout the track echoing strings feel like a ghostly orchestra, grounding the sound in Jockstrap’s signature style. The video itself follows a big-bang inspired narrative – emerging from the dark and building into a striking and chaotic array of visuals. As the pace of the song escalates so does the havoc it portrays, playfully using light and darkness to mimic the narrative of the track.
Jockstrap walk a fine line between chaos and coherence, and ‘Concrete Over Water’ balances this perfectly in a playful manner, embodied by Ellery’s uncanny jester costume in the track’s video. It is a brilliant, tumultuous explosion of a track that is challenging yet seductive, much like modern life itself.
Read our interview with Jockstrap in the February issue of So Young here.
Photo by Eddie Whelan