Today, Jacklen Ro — Jackie Giroux and Caelen Perkins, a harmonizing indie rock duo with the energy of young love and angst — announce their highly anticipated debut LP, Sunshine I’m Counting On You (due November 16 via Lolipop Records).
To kick off the album cycle, the band have shared the record’s title track and first single, “Sunshine I’m Counting On You,” alongside an accompanying music video.
Said the duo on their newest track and its visual: “The song is all about trusting in the good and that it will come in dark times. Knowing you have someone who will consistently be there for you and make your day a little brighter at the end of the darkness. It’s a love song, but it’s also about getting yourself get through the bad and still looking forward to something through it all.
“Making the video about trying to survive vampires came from the line ‘sunshine I’m counting on you,’ as in the sun will kill the vampires. We did it completely DIY with our bassist Lauren directing and producing it, and our drummer edited it. We had friends helping every step of the process, and shoutout to them. We couldn’t have done it without you! We’re just love bugs trying to spread it all around.”
Jacklen Ro is indie songwriting duo Jackie and Caelen, on a best friend’s journey from being a bedroom pop duo to now, most recently in 2021, releasing three singles and an EP on Lolipop Records. Hollered harmonies, punching rhythms, and hurt-so-good lyrics (tell me what we might have had, if I wasn’t so quiet, biting on my jacket) show a nuanced style already their own. Songs made to sing along to while being past-curfew in your best-friend’s borrowed mom’s car.
In a divey downtown joint, passing the time before curtain call, Caelen sits in a dingy pleather-tufted booth, dressed in his paupers drag of khaki-colored peasant wear. Under his springy golden locks, like Apollo with a nose ring, he sips his first legally-acquired cocktail as a young 21’er. His bitter drink puckers his mug, a rare distracted expression from his otherwise edified perma-smile.
Jackie walks about, striking strums against her broad-bellied guitar hung off her hip. Jac’s dressed in sharp-pressed trousers, leather working-class shoes, a wrinkled oxford shirt, and a waistcoat donned with cowboys, unfastened. Her gait resembles the Tin Man as she walks the barboards, a nimbus of congeniality all about her — interacting with the crowd forming around her — sometimes hand-shaking, most times hugging. Jackie and Caelen converge on stage together with a conjoined spirit and charisma that easily out-shines the dull bar-stage lighting. That outshines likely most everything from lighters to spotlights.
Jackie Giroux and Caelen Perkins were high school ride-or-dies from the moment they met. Best friends share everything. Best friends share their favorite songs, best friends share their favorite lyrics, best friends scream their favorite lyrics! Then best friends show each other the lyrics they wrote themselves. Then, sometimes (and in this case), best friends scream those lyrics together; sharing something else all-together different. Under an amalgam of their names, Jacklen Ro would start the demoing process for their first album in 2017 — two years before graduation.
Since then, Jacklen Ro self-released Love Junkies (2019), then a string of unshakable earworm singles with an EP, Til There Was You (2021), on Lolipop Records. Throughout this impressive output, a distinctive signature emerges: Sweet and simple and sincere and significant. The songs are reliably catchy while showing that Caelen and Jackie are touched with the ability to turn a truly sympathetic verse that lands. Serene pairings are comparatively found in works of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Mouldy Peaches, Dead Milkmen, and Tegan and Sara. The haunt and bliss of their voices together conjure likenesses of the D’Addario brothers of the Lemon Twigs, X’s John and Exene, or the Everly Brothers on Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, at their most folk and forlorn.
The music of Jacklen Ro (without sounding too hokey) is the speaking-voice of a young and new and wise generation of peoples led by artists who are shaking off the antiquated and outmoded hang-ups of bygone generations — tired fixations like ‘genres’ and ‘scene rules’ — in favor of just honestly emoting. A generation evolving out of materialism and into emotionalism. Jacklen Ro, in the songs they write, are acting candidly out loud. And this resonates in youth and geezer alike. Because who isn’t dying for some honesty, nowadays? On honesty, Caelen mentions a shared ‘callousness’ felt amongst most who are emotionally fatigued by corporations and establishments using sentimentality to push product. “Then, you feel something genuine and real from someone else and, damn, our heart loves feeling! And it loves to trust. And if you can put those two together,” He concludes while maybe looking back on his own path, “you have friendship.” You won’t fool the children of the evolution.
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