Album Review: The Jezabels, ‘The Brink’

Australia is known for its great bands like AC/DC or INXS, but now this band is going to make their mark too. Not just here, but all around the world… The key to the sound you’ve been needing lies with this album and The Jezabels. Music just got good again. – review of The Jezabels’ debut album, Prisoner Wow, talk about jinxing the career of a pretty decent musical act!You’d think that after such lavish praise (not to mention the ARIA-winning success) of their first album, the weight of expectation would have practically suffocated The Jezabels, condemning them to fail to live up to the hype and standards of their first album – the dreaded “second-album slump” – before losing the adoration of their fan-base and fading into insignificance as so many bands have before them. Fortunately, the Sydney four-piece have fallen victim to none of these perils of early success, and instead take the simple-yet-smart step of expanding on the “Intensindie” genre they’ve already made their own with their sophomore effort, The Brink.The familiar feel-good, dreamy grooves of Sam Lockwood (guitar) and Heather Shannon (keys) this time provide the foundation for songs with a more commercial pop flavour. The 4-chord progression and tender vocal melody on ‘Time to Dance’ share similarities with Zedd’s ‘Clarity’, while ‘Look of Love’ all but guarantees its place on regular circulation with its disco-sounding drum-and-synth combo and uplifting chorus.In what will no doubt come as a relief to fans, the more radio-friendly moments of The Brink don’t come at the expense of the band’s signature sounds. The consecutive tracks, ‘The End’ and ‘Got Velvet’, for example, feature the distorted guitar lead lines and lively drums that are hallmarks of the band’s early singles. Meanwhile, Hayley Mary’s angelic voice reaches thrilling heights on nearly every song, such that your heart beats that little bit faster when you hear lines like “I’ll love you like we’re in the movies…” on ‘No Country’ or “It seems a blue sky is dawning/Every single morning” on ‘All you Need’. In many ways, this is the perfect follow-up album: the songs depart slightly from the band’s sound on Prisoner, moving into new territory – mostly, electronic – but not enough to alienate fans of their earlier stuff. This balancing act is a testament to both the The Jezabels’ self-assured style, and their ongoing success story as a self-made independent act making waves in the local music scene. 4 out of 5 stars Review by Alexander Darling

February 3rd 2014
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