Release Date: Apr 3, 2012
Record label: Mom & Pop Music
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The full-length U.S. debut by this Australian quartet is a fresh blast of vintage turmoil: a robust spin on the echo-laden romanticism of early-Eighties New Wave rock. "I'll be waiting/For your never-ending wave/For our passage to arise," singer Hayley Mary promises in "Endless Summer," in a low, fretful tone before arcing over Heather Shannon's keyboards and Sam Lockwood's guitar like Björk leading a young U2 – or maybe the adult Kate Bush fronting guitar modernists Explosions in the Sky.
Review Summary: The rarity of a debut LP adding to an already superlative discography.It is often interesting - and telling - to view the manner in which a band will begin their career. Some will jump head-first into their debut LP, while others would much prefer to toil away with demos, EPs and splits to ensure they are confident in their own identity and sound. Considering that The Jezabels released three EPs over the span of twenty months, it would appear that the Australian quartet fall into the latter category.
Sydney D.I.Y. quartet the Jezabels may have described their sound as "intensindie" in a joking fashion, but it's hard to think of a more appropriate word to summarize their debut album, Prisoner. Produced by Lachlan Mitchell, its 14 tracks are swamped with layer upon layer of pounding organs, reverb-laden guitar hooks, and clattering rhythms, which when combined with frontwoman Hayley Mary's octave-gliding tones, can occasionally leave you reaching for the aspirin.
Rewind to last summer's Great Escape festival in Brighton and only one name seemed to be etched on the memory of those fortunate enough to have spent Friday lunchtime in Audio's tiny upstairs bar; The Jezabels. Prior to their showstopping performance, little was known about the Sydney-based four-piece in this part of the world, but afterwards, everyone present seemed intent on finding out more. It's just as well then that almost a year later, their debut long player Prisoner has finally dropped in the UK.
Alittle bit gothic, a little bit rock'n'roll, Sydney's Jezabels reached No 2 in Australia when this debut came out there last year. They'll find it hard to equal their success in the UK, where guitars are currently about as groovy as kazoos, but then, they've probably got their eyes fixed on the bigger prize of America, where their particular brand of high-drama, radio-friendly emo fits alongside that of Paramore and Evanescence. Instrumentally, Prisoner piles echo-soaked guitar riffs on to hard-rock drums, then adds a layer of unexpectedly inventive keyboard accents by Heather Shannon, whose pipe organ brightens the title track; she's also handy with cinematic synth-swooshes and jolts of bright electric piano.
The debut album from this Australian bunch is the end result of a year of touring – and it shows. They’re tight in the way that only the threat of bottling can foster. Though it’s hard to classify, clean-cut fuzz-pop is the order of the day, while ballad ‘Long Highway’, instrumental track ‘Austerlitz’ and the strings of ‘Deep Wide Ocean’ give things a noirish turn.Definite highlight is ‘City Girl’ – think Cyndi Lauper, two gins in and morose, duetting with Sophie B Hawkins (of ‘Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover’ fame).