Friday, 31 January 2014

Album Review - The Brink

by The Jezabels (out now)

"She could make a rock and roller of you, son." It feels like forever and a day since we were singing about endless summers, city girls and prisoners, but The Jezabels have returned with the first 'must listen' Australian release of 2014, The Brink. Their sophomore LP follows a similar path to the footsteps of their debut, Prisoner, but The Jezabels aren't simply resting on their laurels. The scope of The Brink is wider, the writing is sharper, there's some synthy goodness to digest (with Heather Shannon playing a much more prominent role this time around) and Hayley Mary's voice is even more emotionally stirring than ever before. What you'll love the most about The Brink is that it still holds that distinct Jezabels flavour and you can rest assured this is a damn fine rock release. 

Late last year we were given an album teaser in the form of 'The End', which you're hopefully familiar with. You might even recall listening to it on Australia Day as it cemented itself as a national favourite with a placement on the triple J Hottest 100. After listening to The Brink, it's easy to understand why 'The End' was chosen as lead single. Not only is it catchy as all hell, powering along with a sense of urgency through Samuel Lockwood's stellar guitar work and Nik Kaloper's pounding drums, but it holds a bit of hope (something that can seemingly appear... distant... throughout the majority of The Brink). "And if you give me a chance, I want a life, I want to thank you for pulling me back from the brink."

Current single, 'Look Of Love', is the indie anthem with a disco vibe you never knew you wanted, but once you've listened to it, you'll wonder how you got through a day without it. Ok, I'm over-exaggerating just a little, but it's a great song that will have you spinning, jumping and twirling along, especially throughout the final moments. This time I'm not over-exaggerating. The Brink is full of world-building lyrics that spark so many images in my mind. 'Time To Dance' opens with the simple line, "Great coat, I love that hat, maybe that could bring my passion back." On paper it doesn't look like much, but Mary's voice tells a whole story in those words. As the song progresses, it feels like somewhat of a continuation of the 'City Girl' story from Prisoner. "Oh the big, bad world, you can't go home, the streets so cold."

After many a listen, I'm still undecided about what my favourite track might be. Sometimes the story and performance of 'No Country' wins for its desire to love like they do in the movies (and pirate fascination) and at other times it's the closing 'All You Need'. "When skies are grey, you had a different point of view, I had no faith, until I stuck a coin in you." 'All You Need' really brings the album full circle, from the destructive girl we hear about in opening number 'The Brink' to someone who's been pulled back from that path in 'The End' and finally someone who has what they need, if only for a little while. We're taken out with with some scorching guitar work and Mary's promise that if she fades out of reach, it will only be for a couple of beats. An absolutely brilliant way to close out The Brink

Matt Bond gives The Brink four Michael Hutchence heads out of five...


One can only assume The Brink will be even better to listen to live and The Jezabels will be embarking on a national tour in June, with tickets on sale mid-March! 

Friday 1 June - Melbourne, Festival Hall (all ages)
Ticketmaster - 136 100

Saturday 2 June - Adelaide, Thebarton Theatre (all ages)
Venue*Tix - 08 8225 8888

Tuesday 5 June - Perth, Metro City (18+)
OzTix - & 1300 762 545

Thursday 7 June - Brisbane, Convention Centre (all ages)
Ticketek - 132 849

Saturday 9 June - Sydney, Hordern Pavilion (all ages)
Ticketek - 132 849 

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