Published Feb 12, 2016The Jezabels have been making lots of noise in Australia. From 2009 to 2010, they pumped out a trilogy of EPs, then in 2011 released their first full-length album, Prisoner, an impressive debut that won them the Australian Music Prize and saw their music reach listeners worldwide. They followed it up with The Brink, which introduced a synth-heavy sound that they've carried over to their newest LP, Synthia.
As the title suggests, the record is heavily layered with synths, pulsating and dancing around Sam Lockwood's deep guitar tones. Opening an album with an eight-minute track is an ambitious move, but the Jezabels deliver it smoothly and confidently. Lyrically, Synthia is an exploration of pleasure, sex and female empowerment: On "Smile," Hayley Mary exercises he sexual agency with lines like "Call me sexy if you want to," and "Whisper in my ear and tell me all the things you want to do," while also asserting herself by shouting, "Don't tell me to smile if you don't know me, brother!" "Pleasure Drive" combines flickering, whimsical synths, driving drums and sexy lines like "I've got 6, 6 baby and I like your style, just need one more number and I'll make you mine" to create a magnetic single.
Synthia is a fresh start for the Jezabels. The multitude of sounds incorporated into Synthia work in favour of the record rather than against it, creating an overall sense of cohesion that was absent on The Brink. The sharp production ensures every alluring sound is distinguishable, giving Mary's vocals and Heather Shannon's keys the attention that they deserve. (Dine Alone)