Thursday, 31 May 2012

Prisoner

Readers of Eyewear will know that from time to time I like to sum up my current tastes and pop culture addictions.  As we move into the mid-point of 2012, June, I'd like to begin taking stock of this particularly fecund year for music.

In a year that's seen LPs from Crybaby, Garbage, Springsteen, Cohen, Madonna, Jack White, and Lana Del Ray, my favourite album of the year so far is now Prisoner by The Jezabels, an award-winning Australian group, whose debut album this is. This is the LP I return to again and again and can listen to intently or at one remove. It has comforted me when I was down or lonely and it has also exulted me.

The album is a subtle masterwork of shimmering consistency of tone. It is all of a flowing New Wave piece. A pop rock album, the songs, all with female vocals by Hayley Mary, are a mix of dream pop and drum-driven Joshua Tree era rock. The closest album to this may be New Gold Dream, in terms of the way the unifying mood is ecstatic and yearning.

The main greatness here is an absence of marring particularities, and an emotive emphasis on the poetic, even an ambition to be poetic. There are no jokes. No localising references. No portentous claims. No tweets, or bleats.  Instead the lyrics are clear, simple. But the singing! It is Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, it is Siouxsie Sioux!  It is full, deep, yet human. Somehow these songs arrive with complete integrity and intensity of vision - they create a world of ennobling longing, sweet and melodramatic. This is lyric beauty. And it is lovely to be in this, the, world. 
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