Release Date: Apr 24, 2012
Record label: Kirtland Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Who the sweet fuck is Sarah Jaffe? On her mesmerizing third album, The Body Wins, she doesn’t seem too concerned with easy answers—only with dizzying studio finesse and bitch-slapping eclecticism. “Paul” is a slow-burning quiet storm of orchestral flourishes; the title track layers fragments of tribal rhythms, jazz piano, funky brass stabs and gurgling electronics. She outdoes herself with the spooky, sultry “Hooray for Love,” which sounds like Norah Jones during a sonic hangover.
Sarah Jaffe’s 2010 debut full-length Suburban Nature began with simple measured strums on her acoustic guitar. The album wasn’t completely spare—eventually slow pulls on the violin colored that opening song and Jaffe’s quivering vocals echoed to fill the empty spaces. But overall, it occupied that familiar ground between folk, roots rock and indie pop.
Denton, Texas native Sarah Jaffe creates atmospheres more than songs. Some are sparse declarations of delicate emotions, such as the gentle “Paul”. Others are more layered treatments of piano, drums, and electronic instruments, such as the moody “The Way a Sound Leaves a Room”. And some are downright busy with musical gingerbreading, such as the silly “Glorified High”.
In a recent episode of HBO’s Girls, main character Hannah tells the man-child who she erroneously believes to be her boyfriend why she almost had sex with her boss: “for the story”. HBO should snatch up “Glorified High”, The Body Wins single on which Sarah Jaffe sings, “Party for the hell of it/Solely out of boredom/Mostly for the story.” The song brings out the wild side of the Denton, TX-based singer, a side that’s fueled by bass, drum machines, synths and electric guitar – none of which made their way onto her debut full-length, last year’s acoustic-guitar-heavy Suburban Nature. In a promotional video for that 2011 album, Jaffe spoke of her childhood and said, “I knew I wanted to rock.
Denton songstress Sarah Jaffe settled comfortably into indie singer-songwriter mode with 2010 debut Suburban Nature, separated from the crowd by her trembling but powerful voice. Sophomore effort The Body Wins is a stylistic sea change for Jaffe, lavishly decorated with programming, horns, and strings. The digitized, bass-laden intro of "Glorified High" gives way to a piano-driven chorus, combining technology and raw instrumentation.
JACK WHITE “Blunderbuss” (Columbia) The good news is that Jack White’s first solo album sounds ruled by his real-time nervous system. He’s made an album of impetuousness and instinctive design. He’s allowed first-take buzzes and imperfections, created whole songs out of small and fast notions. Forcible freshness protection is his first talent.
The 20-something Texan Sarah Jaffe could have played it safe on her sophomore album, and remained a singer-songwriter strumming her tunes on a guitar. Jaffe isn’t a typical Lone Star State troubadour. She comes from Denton, which also home to such genre-shifting bands as Midlake and Centro-matic, and Jaffe similarly reveals adventurous musical ambitions on The Body Wins.