Mess+Noise EP review: The Jezabels – ‘Dark Storm’, December 2010

An EP review for Mess+Noise. Excerpt below.

The JezabelsDark Storm

The press release seems to want me to mention something about their age, so here goes: Sydney quartet The Jezabels are aged between 23 (singer) Hayley Mary) and 25 (drummer Nik Kaloper). Together, they write soaring, dramatic pop, so here’s where I’m meant to make some kind of comment on their maturity, and how incredible it is these young musicians are performing deep, complex, Important Music. This EP is apparently the “third and final release in a trilogy that began with 2009’s The Man Is Dead…” Alright then, moving on.

The strangest thing about this band is that the instrumentation is essentially a blank canvas for Mary, whose voice is so urgent and alluring that you’re half-tempted to take a cold shower immediately after the disc ends. Her every yelp and note sticks in the mind, and endures; as for the instrumentation, there’s little to write home about. The band’s musical point of difference is the absence of a bass; keyboardist Heather Shannon fills out the bottom end by playing slow, deliberate chord progressions. Guitarist Sam Lockwood favours clean, feeble tones for the most part. In ‘A Little Piece’, his use of an ebow strives for that mournful, desolate soundscape feel, amid bursts of Foals-like noodling. Lockwood’s best asset as a player is knowing when to dial it back. Indeed, much of Dark Storm is characterised by a sense of space, which swells to crescendo during each chorus.

Full review at Mess+Noise. More of The Jezabels on MySpace. The music video their song ‘Mace Spray‘ is embedded below.

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