Five years ago JJ72 had the world at their feet. Along with Muse and Coldplay, they were being tipped as the forerunners of a new legion of anthemic, stadium rock for the new millennium. But then, after numerous record company wrangles delaying the release of their second album ‘I To Sky’ and the likes of The Strokes and The Libertines being embraced like the little lost children of Benetton, JJ72 suddenly found themselves out of earshot and out of fashion.
Having lost original bass player Hillary Woods in 2003, founder members Mark Greaney and Fergal Matthews recruited Canadian bassist Sarah Fox (formerly of The Fangs) and set about writing songs for a third album. Since then, it has all been rather quiet but now they’re back, with a new single ‘Coming Home’ and their most extensive UK tour in three years.
“It feels great to be back!” exclaims an exuberant Fergal Matthews. “It’s just like starting from scratch all over again, rehearsing new versions of older songs. Now Sarah’s in the band we feel we can expand on those songs and ideas much further than we could previously.”
The dynamics of the music industry have changed dramatically since the band started out, not to mention the way “independent” guitar music is being marketed at the moment.
It's been more than two years since the last JJ72 single. After the lukewarm critical reception of their sophomore album, and the departure of bassist Hilary Woods, the Dublin three-piece disappeared off the scope almost entirely. Now, they're back - with a new album and a tour to support. Despite the gloomy weather, singer Mark Greaney is in good spirits.
“We have a new bassist, a new lineup – it's like a new band, really.” Not that new – there's still the trademark wailing vocal and that particular wall-of sound softened distortion. Greaney's in an affable mood and tends to slip into Joyce-esque stream-of-consciousness musings, peppered frequently with "you know's" and "really's." “I think we're a better band now . . . before, when we were good, we were really, really good – but some of our shows could be quite brittle, almost pained sounding, sometimes . . . we're much tighter as a band, now.”
On 20th April 2005 JJ72 launched their new website. Beautiful Day will be featuring October Swimmer (1999). As well as the official website there are other great resources at www.jj72.org.uk and jj72.org. JJ72 have started their first tour for 2 years.