TDP Review: The Jezabels- “The End”

For fans of: Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Camera Obscura

Even though creative experimentation verges on a line of “will-they-love-it-will-they-hate-it,” artists must always find a way to stay true to their own aesthetic and desires.  Unfortunately, harshly-critical fans can either respect a band’s pursuit of a different sound or disregard a flop as a band’s carelessness towards its audience.  The Aussie alternative/indie rock quartet The Jezabels have recently released their new single “The End” as a sneak preview into their second album, set for release in early 2014, and it is quite the shocker.

Gaining significant popularity after the inclusion of their song “A Little Piece” in Danny MacAskill’s extreme biking video, The Jezabels released their first LP “Prisoner” in 2011.  “Prisoner” was a unique debut, complete with occasional obscure organ instrumentals and the soulful, pained, and siren-like vocals of the talented Hayley Mary.  Truly living up to Mary’s interpretation of the namesake Biblical Jezebel as a misunderstood and scorned woman, The Jezabels’s heart-wrenching songs, like “Long Highway,” were dubbed too mature to be included in major films because of the psychological duality within the former’s strong, yet vulnerable narrator.  If the reasoning behind The Jezabels’s experiment with “The End” was to produce a song with catchiness, pop-appeal, and dance-along potential, then the band has certainly taken a wrong turn towards forgotten songs of the summer.

Bringing back a portion of The Jezabels’ symbolically-packed lyrics, the band does not return the slightly mournful instrumental background.  Understandably, “The End” contrasts with the rest of The Jezabels’ songs in that it emphasizes a life worth living.  Oftentimes, juxtaposition between thought-provoking lyrics and a poppy tune works very well and provides the listener with an unexpected surprise and appreciation of the genius deceit.  However, in the case of “The End,” the joyful instrumentals are not different enough from just another “upbeat-summer-song.”  At moments, Hayley Mary’s silvery voice is once again highlighted, but the over-the-top, chaotic instrumentals still desperately overpower the easy-going power of her vocals.  The jolly beat tries to end dramatically and abruptly, but only leaves confusion.  Overall, “The End” was too happy and too derivative to be a The Jezabels’ song.

Currently nameless, The Jezabels’ new album is an enigma.  With the release of a song that possesses little of what the band has previously utilized, The Jezabels are either introducing their fans to a completely new sound or just seeing the response.  While they have always written diverse music, it still possessed a certain moody, seductive quality.  Will their new album touch upon their usual or diverge completely into “driving-to-the-beach-and-I-guess-this-song’s-okay” territory?  The bright and cheery “The End” does not make us bright and cheery.  Stay tuned for a review of The Jezabels’ full new album in early 2014!

Overall Rating: ⅖

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