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The Jezabels - Prisoner

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Prisoner

The Jezabels

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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. Taken in small doses, there's much to admire here, from the gothic opening title track, which daringly interrupts its cinematic post-rock sound with a surprising bubbling synth breakdown, to the claustrophobic Wall of Sound that is "Nobody Nowhere," to the galloping the National-esque alt-rock of "Trycolour." Mary's voice is a stunning instrument all in itself, effortlessly swooping from somber PJ Harvey-style femme fatale to magical Kate Bush-influenced banshee, often in the space between a verse and a chorus. But the album is more captivating when it provides some much needed light to counterbalance its overpowering shade. "Endless Summer" is a sun-drenched slice of Yeah Yeah Yeahs-ish new wave pop proving that the band isn't averse to the odd infectious radio-friendly melody, "Peace of Mind" is a gorgeous slice of ethereal dream pop underpinned by subtle piano chords and lush ambient electronica, while "Horsehead" opens with some warm synths and Fleetwood Mac-inspired soft rock harmonies before it eventually succumbs to a more thunderous explosion of noise. It's unfortunate that the Jezabels seem hesitant to pursue this more stripped-back and chilled-out direction, as while their prevalent more-is-more approach certainly reaps several grandiose rewards, it also creates a slight air of pomposity suggesting the bandmembers take themselves a little too seriously. Nevertheless, Prisoner remains one of the boldest statements of intent from a fledgling act this year, and while it will be a little too intense for some, it pinpoints the Jezabels as one of the bands to watch from Australia's thriving indie rock scene.
© Jon O'Brien /TiVo

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Prisoner

The Jezabels

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1
Prisoner
00:04:13

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

2
Endless Summer
00:04:12

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Lachlan Mitchell at Attic Studios, Sydney, Producer - Peter Katis at Tarquin Studios, Connecticut, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2011 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

3
Long Highway
00:06:02

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

4
Try Colour
00:05:14

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

5
Rosebud
00:04:16

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

6
City Girl
00:05:24

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

7
Nobody Nowhere
00:02:45

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

8
Horsehead
00:04:30

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

9
Austerlitz
00:03:04

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

10
Deep Wide Ocean
00:04:45

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

11
Peace of Mind
00:04:01

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

12
Reprise
00:00:57

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

13
Catch Me
00:05:45

Imagem Music, MusicPublisher - Lachlan Mitchell, Producer - The Jezabels, Composer, Lyricist, Artist, MainArtist - Peter Katis @ Tarquin Studios, Mixer

2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group 2012 The Jezabels. Released under exclusive license by Play It Again Sam. Play It Again Sam is a label of the [PIAS] Entertainment Group

Album Description

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. Taken in small doses, there's much to admire here, from the gothic opening title track, which daringly interrupts its cinematic post-rock sound with a surprising bubbling synth breakdown, to the claustrophobic Wall of Sound that is "Nobody Nowhere," to the galloping the National-esque alt-rock of "Trycolour." Mary's voice is a stunning instrument all in itself, effortlessly swooping from somber PJ Harvey-style femme fatale to magical Kate Bush-influenced banshee, often in the space between a verse and a chorus. But the album is more captivating when it provides some much needed light to counterbalance its overpowering shade. "Endless Summer" is a sun-drenched slice of Yeah Yeah Yeahs-ish new wave pop proving that the band isn't averse to the odd infectious radio-friendly melody, "Peace of Mind" is a gorgeous slice of ethereal dream pop underpinned by subtle piano chords and lush ambient electronica, while "Horsehead" opens with some warm synths and Fleetwood Mac-inspired soft rock harmonies before it eventually succumbs to a more thunderous explosion of noise. It's unfortunate that the Jezabels seem hesitant to pursue this more stripped-back and chilled-out direction, as while their prevalent more-is-more approach certainly reaps several grandiose rewards, it also creates a slight air of pomposity suggesting the bandmembers take themselves a little too seriously. Nevertheless, Prisoner remains one of the boldest statements of intent from a fledgling act this year, and while it will be a little too intense for some, it pinpoints the Jezabels as one of the bands to watch from Australia's thriving indie rock scene.
© Jon O'Brien /TiVo

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