Jonka

“Every Other Day” – Jonka

A textbook exercise in how to construct a groove, “Every Other Day” burns with the booty-shaking resolve of an old Hot Chocolate song, channeled through the ’80s electro-pop style book, Erasure edition. Listen to how the layers coalesce—first the basic beat, itself an alluring blend of distant-seeming sounds; then the bass, all fat and old-school; then the first foreground element, a slappy, tappy percussive sound playing a jittery series of double-time flourishes. At this point, it’s cool but not necessarily awesome. Awesome arrives with the next two elements: the organ-y synthesizer (0:24) that skitters away seemingly between the beats; and, the pièce de résistance, the high, swooping “oo-oos” (0:32) that deliver the song’s first melody, wordless though it may be.

Beyond the sure groove, what sells “Every Other Day” is Jonka’s commitment to vocal harmonies. Just as the twosome blend their names—Jon Neufeld and Annika Kaye—to create the band’s name, so do they blend their voices in a plush, ongoing layering of harmony not often heard in this musical setting. From the opening lyric, the band mates (a married couple, you should know) sing every word together, and are over-dubbed so that there are at least two of each of them singing at all times. Neufeld’s soulful baritone takes the lead but Kaye’s full-bodied backing vocals are just as important a part of the song’s texture. The song’s melodies, meanwhile, percolate relentlessly upward, giving the song an almost gospel-like sense of uplift.

Neufeld and Kaye live in Brooklyn. Neufeld grew up on Staten Island and Kaye, born in Sweden, was raised in Manhattan. “Every Other Day” is the first song available from the duo’s second album, Pinks and Blues, which is arriving at some unspecified date in the reasonably near future.