On his anticipated debut mini-album BRONZE, SFC.JGR (재규어 중사) confidently navigates his own introvert-extrovert mélange of songs that nod to 80’s synth pop, trap, hip-hop, and soul. As a result, the EP provides a fresh take on both the retro pop revival and chill R&B style. BRONZE breaks out of the noise with SFC.JGR’s penchant for no-fuss singing against producer Bronze’s melting pot of styles, and certainly leaves you wishing for more.
BRONZE‘s virtuosity comes as pleasantly unexpected, based on the small sampling of SFC.JGR’s work online. He’s gathered a small but strong fanbase for his 80s/90s pop covers, along with some originals including last year’s house-inspired “계단 앞” (STAIRWAY) featuring Qim Isle and the Kitsuné-approved R&B track “NETWORK.” In BRONZE, SFC.JGR presents his most complete and personal statement; his voice has never sounded more delicate and mature.
The EP kicks off on a brief upbeat note, with SFC.JGR and Bronze taking a little time to revel in a little humor and playfulness. There’s the club-friendly “1:1” (featuring a heavily-autotuned The Quiett), followed by a tale of two lover(dog)s in “Shih Tzu.”
The second half of the EP is crafted in every intention for solo listening – the party’s over, everyone’s left, and SFC.JGR comes to terms with his loneliness starting in “Fuckin’ lonely.” This is the summer soundtrack for the melancholy millennial, over Bronze’s withdrawn, lo-fi post-city pop instrumentals. There’s something soothing and heartbreaking as SFC.JGR’s voice flows in a comfortable range without sacrificing its delicate qualities. He does showcase some of his understated falsetto briefly in “To the End,” but I definitely hope that he brings even more of it back in future releases.
SFC.JGR borrows from last year’s 8BallTown Mixx City Vol. 2 for the EP’s bonus track and afterword, “Alcohol & Telephone.” It’s what you’d expect from its title: remorseful drunk calls to an ex, an utterly relatable end to a night out. But as SFC.JGR goes on, that he doesn’t have much to say, that he’s sorry about calling so late, that he’s thinking about the person he’s calling, it’s all addictingly honest and sweet – a PG-rated “Marvin’s Room,” if you will. If each track in BRONZE is a layer, we can find ourselves at the core of SFC.JGR’s feelings by the end of the album.
8BallTown has built their brand around new jack swing and city pop-inspired music, with artists including crew founder KIRIN, Jason Lee, plastic kid, Bronze (this EP’s producer), and more. All these artists are worth delving into, with 8BallTown’s own YouTube channel a great place to start.