The Jezabels | Dark Storm EP
Most Likely To: hit your iTunes with a near-perfect storm.
I’ll take The Jezabels’ Dark Storm over blue skies any day of the week. In this final installment of their EP trilogy, the Sydney, Australiabased four-piece gives listeners a cohesive, genre-eluding collection that flows effortlessly but won’t leave you feeling like you’ve just heard the same track five times. I’ve been listening to Dark Storm on repeat for days, and I swear there isn’t a skippable song in the bunch.
With its surging rhythm and less than cheerful lyrics, the title track does indeed live up to its name, but it’s not all doom and gloom. “Dark Storm” has some softness to it, somehow feeling bright and utterly ethereal. By the second track, “Mace Spray,” the outrageousness of frontwoman Haley Mary’s voice really starts to sink in. She is tonally on par with Florence Welch (otherwise known as Florence + The Machine) and Jenny Lewis – and is perhaps every bit as magnetic. Keyboardist Heather Shannon, guitarist Sam Lockwood and drummer Nik Kaloper create a beautiful background, supporting but not overpowering Mary’s piercing falsetto as she belts out that chorus (“She keeps mace spray, for you can’t rely on the common man”). If I had to pick a favorite song on the EP, “Macy Spray” would be it. Wait, I take that back. Don’t make me pick a favorite.
“Sahara Mahala” is a stunning, layered piece – the musical gift that keeps on giving. I find something new to marvel at with every listen. In “A Little Piece,” the vibe is looser, uninhibited and quirky (“Sailor, sailor, sailor, I’m sending birds to watch over you… All you need, honestly, is a little piece of cherry pie hot from the oven”). This one keeps building and evolving, and even with a million things going on at once, it doesn’t feel tangled or overdone. In this case, it seems that more is more.
Rounding out the EP, “She’s So Hard” presents a snapshot (albeit a blurry one) of one fierce, Teflon-coated chick. Or so it appears. In the lyrics we hear one thing (“I don’t care when you cry, I think self pity is a state of mind”), but the vulnerability in Mary’s voice paints a different picture. The previous four songs showcase her vocal range, but this one calls for a little more restraint, which she exercises perfectly. Clearly, she need not scream at the top of her lungs to be heard.
It’s not often that I become a loyal fan in under five minutes, but The Jezabels are just that good. And while five songs aren’t nearly enough, for now I’ll take what I can get from this oh-so-talented up and coming quartet.
Listen to “Mace Spray” from The Jezabels:
[audio:http://www.planetarygroup.com/newmedia/pages/jezabels/mp3/macespray.mp3|artists=The Jezabels|titles=Mace Spray]