The Jezabels - The Brink (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE sophomore album from Australia’s The Jezabels has much to admire even if it sometimes struggles to come together as a satisfying whole.
Driven by Hayley Mary’s powerhouse vocals and a sound that dances gleefully between synth and indie-pop, this benefits from production assistance from Dan Grech-Marguerat (of Lana Del Rey fame), as well as the time the band has spent on the road with acts like Depeche Mode and Imagine Dragons.
Hence, while the instrumental sound is quite often lively and even ’80s and ’90s leaning (think everyone from Shakespeare’s Sister to classic U2 through to Pet Shop Boys and Kate Bush), there’s a darkness to the lyrics (which combine anger and social commentary) that’s welcome.
At its best, the album delivers tracks like Beat To Beat, which drop sharp electronic stabs and slick beats, before opening up into a sweeping chorus where Mary’s vocals hit some thrilling highs.
The synth sound returns to take notice effect on Angels of Fire, which combines that element with some addictive guitar hooks and a nice slow-burn vibe.
No Country drops lines like “he said I won’t dirty you when I make love” and “I love you like we’re in the movies” and emerges as a female Killers track (slow-building towards the epic). But while good, it’s bettered by the head-rush pop-rock of former single The End.
Driven by soaring vocals and gutsy blasts of guitar, that song successfully and endearingly combines power pop flourishes with indie-rock elements that manage to encompass a broad appeal. The vocals are crisp, the melodies tight and the overall vibe very positive, despite lyrics that question “is this the end of life worth living?”
Psychotherapy, meanwhile, unfurls amid some beautifully beguiling piano arrangements and offers up a rare quieter moment that is a welcome change of pace.
Other tracks such as Look of Love and Got Velvet may not make as instant or lasting an impression but it’s to The Jezabels credit that even when failing to ignite, their songs still engage.
Like we said, there’s a lot to like here.
Download picks: Beat To Beat, The End, Time To Dance, Psychotherapy