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Jana Josephina - Contradiction (Review)

Jana Josephina, Contradiction

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

HAVING previously impressed with singles I Know and Avalanche, Jana Josephina now drops her equally notable debut album Contradiction.

Fusing electro pop elements with tribal beats and surging choruses, not to mention a powerful set of vocals, the album is positively brimming with upbeat, super-charged synth-pop songs that have already drawn comparisons with everyone from Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey to Foxes.

Not everything works, of course. As with a lot of synth-pop elements, some tracks err towards the more blatantly cheesy and even dated in an ’80s kind of way (step forward Nightingale). While others are just plain crazy, such as opening salvo Avian Me, which starts out as a mid-tempo ballad of the haunted variety, before exploding to life around the minute and 30 second mark in a totally unexpected, even Euro pop kind of way. If this song ended up in a Eurovision contest you wouldn’t be surprised given some of its melodies.

But if that starting point did sound some alarm bells, then former single Dreamdancer serves as a potent reminder of how Josephina can deliver a belting pop track. Driven by funky synth pop elements and soaring vocals, this builds to a sweeping chorus that is utterly infectious.

Charm, meanwhile, drops those tribal chimes and a vocal that’s pure Kate Bush (and all the more appealing for it), Ghost thrives on its addictive synth hook and ethereal vocals (not to mention a sound that veers more towards synth-rock and Foxes) and I Know lavishes a bombardment of tribal beats and a gigantic chorus that sweeps you along on its energy.

There’s an endearing showcase of Josephina’s ability to slow things down on the bittersweet Say What You Want, which benefits from its beautiful melancholy, before former single Avalanche rounds off the album with a track that once more showcasing her ability to marry propulsive beats, sweeping synth arrangements and sweet, pop-soaked vocals.

The track is an appropriately lively offering to end things on a high that even goes so far as to evoke memories of artists like Shakespeare’s Sister, Everything But The Girl and Sophie Ellis-Bextor while putting Josephina’s own stamp on proceedings. The track gets more and more catchy the more you listen to it – much like the album as a whole.

Download picks: Dreamdancer, I Know, Ghost, Avalanche, Say What You Want

Track listing:

  1. Avian Me
  2. Dreamdancer
  3. Charm
  4. The Greatest
  5. Ghost
  6. Still
  7. Right Now
  8. I Know
  9. Tomorrow
  10. Nightingale
  11. Say What You Want
  12. Avalanche