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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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‘Census Designated’: Jane Remover refuses to be labeled

Graphic by Mylie Bluhm

Jane Remover’s new album “Census Designated is a worthy follow up to her debut LP “Frailty.” The 20-year-old’s production skills shine through the raw facade of the 10-song project.

The album leans heavily in the direction of shoegaze, a subgenre of rock made popular in the 1990s by European bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. Its sound is characterized by harsh guitar tones, hazy vocals and an atmospheric quality. The subgenre experienced a decline in prominence toward the end of the decade due to a mixture of factors, most notably the criticism levied against bands for self-indulgence. However, the subgenre has received renewed interest in the past decade. This recent resurgence, perpetuated mainly by online communities, uses digital audio workfaces and other updated production techniques to achieve a more contemporary and complex sound.

In Remover’s “Census Designated,” you can sense the artist’s desire to shift away from the electronic sounds that hallmarked her previous releases. Remover’s musical progression spans numerous styles over the course of a decade. Her early output focused more on electronic dance music, while the mid-2010s saw her shift towards a more trap-inspired sound. 

“Frailty,” released in 2021, touched upon indietronica and glitch pop ideas for a more melodic ambiance. In an interview with Stereogum, Remover talked about the importance of change during the recording stages of her new album, saying “I need to make something else, I need to make something better.”

Evidence of Remover’s sonic maturation can be seen throughout the record. The second track, “Lips,” is a five-minute-long epic split into two informal sections. The first portion is a slow burn, featuring the light strumming of guitars and breathy vocals. These incantations reach a fever pitch before a wall of punchy drums, harsh guitars and screamed lyrics burst out. Remover’s voice spans various ranges as she sings about her hesitant approach towards relationships.

The track “Idling Somewhere” is abrasive throughout most of its entirety. Glitchy blips and bleeps punctuate the bridge of the song before the hard kicks and snares come in, pushing the song along behind churning guitars and a bassline that could blow out a speaker. It’s astounding how much power is packed into the song, which would undoubtedly be elevated in a live performance.

Remover’s newfound reliance on guitar is most prevalent in the album’s closer, “Contingency Song (Album Version).” Originally released as a single in late 2022, “Contingency Song” features heavily processed guitar feedback as part of a droning wall of sound. The track lacks drums, allowing the deep bass to cut through. The lyrics flirt with the concept of death in the context of Remover’s past relationship, offering a harrowing glimpse at her inner turmoil. As the album’s conclusion, “Contingency Song” works extremely well. 

“Census Designated” is a gem of a sophomore album for Remover. Her ability to craft such an abrasive yet beautiful project is the culmination of years spent refining her musical talent.

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