Sixteen Jackies’s new EP, Hostile Architecture, is out October 29 via Born Losers Records.
Like teenagers and bad decisions, camp and horror go hand in hand. So does the experience of discovering your queer attraction, and worrying how you will be judged when others find out. With their latest single “Just Kids,” Philadelphia glam-punk quartet Sixteen Jackies explore these themes of insecurity in youth, all the while seducing with the luscious and impassioned vocals of Jody DeMarco.
Opening with jazzy chords and twinkling keys, Sixteen Jackies‘s “Just Kids” smooths into a bodacious groove that’s as sweet – and retro – as chantilly cream. The sound quality is superb, but what’s most commendable is how the song progresses, building up in momentum and weight while maintaining the breezy, blissful atmosphere. The instrumental on some level feels cinematic, providing a naturalistic score to the pictures being presented by DeMarco’s lyrics.
In contrast to the bubblegum instrumental, the desperation of the protagonist – a closeted boy who loses his virginity – is tangible. He lives in fear that he will be found out, that the judgement of others will affect how he is perceived. With lyrics like “You know damn well that shit stains and it might never get clean,” DeMarco doesn’t hold back from how intense the experience is, and how it can be formative in ways you least expect.
In the video directed by Max R Holland, the band showcase their aesthetic in a satisfying fashion. Drawing from B-movie horror, DeMarco is seen in the woods throughout, being chased by an unknown being from the point of view of the camera. Beyond sending up this slasher trope, the band is seen performing fluorescently in smoky lighting and satin shirts. DeMarco uses all of the provided space, filling the video with the spirit of a caged bird desiring to fly away.