The Brink

The Jezabels

PIAS Records, 2014

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The Australian indie rock outfit The Jezabels had to overcome some hurdles on their much anticipated sophomore album The Brink. They recorded it in another country (England) with new help behind the scenes, and though it might have been a foreign recording situation, the disc still ended up #2 on the Australian charts. Not too shabby for a band who has only existed for four years. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Some things aren't altered by geography or who's turning the knobs. The strong vocals of Hayley Mary and the punchy rhythm section and synths that made their debut Prisoner so compelling are very much still on board. If anything, the minor differences here lie in the overall more glossy feeling and the band's gravitation towards more accessible sounds, i.e. pop music.

Keeping their dreamy theme going, but also including the darker scope of their first album Prisoner, The Brink starts with the title track and it sure does demand attention. A cathartic song of driving guitars and chiming keys, it's a melodic yet forceful rocker that reminds us of The Joy Formidable meets Metric. Things shift dramatically for "Time To Dance,” which starts out sparse and breathy before finding a groove you could dance to. At the halfway point, a potential radio single comes out in the dance pop of "Angels Of Fire" that even references Beyoncé – perhaps a hint of the direction the band is going.

Mary has a dynamic voice that alone could win you over. She’s of reaching high notes on the playful, disco pop song "Look For Love,” and she also gets seductive on the soaring "Got Velvet." Lyrically, Mary wears her heart on her sleeve with forthright stories of love lost and love found. She has made it public that two years of touring for the last album took its toll on her, which is also evident in the wordplay here.

In the end, this is an outfit progressing in all the right avenues. This sophomore album is a little more brief, but packs in just as much depth, and the band makes subtle changes in their formula in the form of more electronica, more direct pop ideas, as well as minor experimental moments (the cinematic, haunting, pianos of "Psychotherapy" are a late surprise).

Now more than ever, The Jezabels are on the brink of stardom.

Rating: A-

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© 2014 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of PIAS Records, and is used for informational purposes only.