Jackie Charles gets around. The group — no, Jackie Charles is not a person, but rather the name of a band fronted by Kaja Bremnes — is Norwegian, but much of its upcoming new album, Future Fantasies (out next month), was recorded in Hanover, Germany. A press release about the band further describes the members as “dividing their time between the rooftop bars of Berlin and a Norwegian fishing boat,” two destinations that couldn’t be more different from one another. Throughout “Time Travel,” a Future Fantasies single, Jackie Charles likewise bounces between two completely dissimilar locations.
At its outset, “Time Travel” pairs an undistorted, major-key power chord strut not unlike that present in many of the mid-2010s’ most acclaimed rock records with a candy-bright progression of synth notes best suited for psychedelic elevator music inside Willy Wonka’s legendary chocolate factory. Bremnes’ droll singing in the track’s first verse firmly grounds the track in melodic rock territory, but in the song’s chorus, she switches gears and drives her band straight into a melancholy ocean of organ-like synthetic pops and dual-layer male-female vocal harmonies that belong to whatever subgenre Beach House perfected in the late ’00s and early ’10s. And then, when the second verse hits, the band is back to its original motif.
Across the track’s six-minute runtime, Jackie Charles regularly jumps back and forth between these two completely distinct parts (and miraculously, they do so without ever changing tempo or forcing transitions). The constant switching reflects the song’s theme: “Reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” the band says in a press release, “and sometimes living in the past is better than being in the present.” One part of “Time Travel” might represent the past, the other the present, and it’s no wonder Jackie Charles can weave so easily between the two: its members bounce between Germany and Norway so often that time travel comes naturally.