It’s been four-and-a-half years since Planningtorock’s last album, 2014’s All Love’s Legal, and today Jam Rostron unveils details of their bold self-produced follow-up, Powerhouse, which The 405 has spent the past week getting acquainted with. Here’s what you need to know:

  • As a piece of work, the ten-track set is probably the most impactful and immediate album in Jam’s 12-year recording career. It is also their most personal.
  • The first single, ‘Transome’, has a click-your-fingers-to-the-beat groove that would not be out of place on Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope - it’s sexy and it knows it. The signature Planningtorock synths and the pitch-shifted vocals work together like magic.
  • ‘Transome’ is not the first Planningtorock release in 2018. It arrives on the back of two fantastic features which Jam did earlier this year: Little Boots’ ‘Eros’ and Âme’s ‘Blind Eye’.
  • Powerhouse serves, in part, as a companion to the artist’s transitioning process, as a non-binary genderqueer person taking steps towards “making Jam” (tracks like ‘Transome’ and ‘Jam of Finalnd’).
  • To our ears, the record as a whole is also very much informed by family and the continuing role it plays in one’s life. In this latter regard, the title track (paying homage to Jam’s mother, Janet) and ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’ (with its ridiculously catchy old-school 1990s house chorus and talking head-style interview verses, in which Jam recalls their and their sister’s adolescent passion for music) offer the listener an intimate glimpse into Jam’s relationship with their family and its importance to them.
  • Another track that explores the impact of family life on the musician is the hard-hitting ‘Dear Brother’, with its open, honest lyrics (“I wrote this song so I can forgive you”).
  • He may not be their biological brother, but Olof Dreijer - one of Jam’s closest friends as well as long-term collaborator (Tomorrow, In A Year and ‘Let’s Talk About Gender Baby’) – is another familial presence on the album with the only co-produced track on Powerhouse, the percussive ‘Much To Touch’. It’s one of the most instant cuts on the record and the flute motif is a real highlight. The rhythm section calls to mind the sonic direction of Olof and his sister Karin’s The Knife album, Shaking The Habitual.
  • With all this talk of family, track 8, ‘Non Binary Femme’, sounds like a close relative of ‘Beyond Binary Binds’ from All Love’s Legal (and not just because of the titular similarities).
  • Written and recorded in Berlin (Jam’s permanent home), London, New York and Los Angeles, Powerhouse will be out on 9 November on Human Level / DFA Records.
  • There are going to be some live shows in support of the record and we are expecting dates announcements very soon.