Today, Jacklen Ro — Jackie Giroux and Caelen Perkins, a harmonizing indie rock duo with the energy of young love and angst — finally share their highly anticipated debut LP, Sunshine I’m Counting On You (out now via Lolipop Records).
Speaking on their brand new record, the band wrote: “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). 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.”
To celebrate their new release, the band have also shared the a music video for the final single and focus track, “Made of Sugar.”
On the track, the band continued: “‘Made of Sugar’ is about an on and off relationship from the perspective of someone who wants to get to the next level and be committed. It’s the feeling of being let down by someone you thought you knew and could trust. It’s the cycle of addiction to empty validation.”
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.