Album Review: The Jezabels [Prisoner]

Rating: 8.6

Label: Mom & Pop Music

Release Date: April 3, 2012

It doesn’t take long to figure out what Australian indie-pop outfit The Jezabels are trying to do on their debut album Prisoner. Behind the sultry voice of lead singer Hayley Mary, The Jezabels have staked their ground as a group seeking to do big things. Indeed, Prisoner is rich in texture, offering a big sound, anthemic choruses, and a wall of guitars. It’s as if Tori Amos decided to collaborate with U2, and they brought in Phil Spector to run the boards. At times you’ll hear echoes of the 90s, and at others, hints of 80s new-wave (a la’ M83). But, if I have one complaint, it’s that the album lacks focus. Clocking in at just under an hour, Prisoner is a little long in the tooth. What’s more, the shimmery guitars alongside Mary’s vocals are front and center on every song, thus making the album sound less dynamic. Still, the highs greatly outweigh the lows, making Prisoner one of the year’s best thus far.

Select Cuts: Endless Summer, Trycolour, Rosebud, Horsehead

The Greatest Albums of the 2000s

XYCoverBig#13.  Coldplay- X&Y (2005): 2002’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” set what many perceived to be the high water mark for this English band.  Making a shift from some of the cutesy themes (see Yellow) of their breakout album “Parachutes,” the gents opted to follow a more serious tone.  But the band wasn’t done.  With X&Y the message is go big or go home.  X&Y is Coldplay’s magnum opus, in part because it evokes some of the bigger moments of bands like U2 and Radiohead, with whom they are often compared.  Tracks like “Square One,” and “Low” recall some of U2s more epic songs, while evoking the guitar-oriented sound of “The Bends” era Radiohead.  No doubt X&Y is Coldplay’s most concise album.  Some of the bigger moments on the album fit perfectly alongside more subdued tracks like “Swallowed by the Sea” and “Twisted Logic.” The irony of X&Y is that it’s biggest hit- “Speed of Sound” – or Clocks Part IIis no less its least ambitious.

Personally, it took me a while to get into this album, which makes it a curious choice for my list.  Nevertheless, most of the albums that I find myself enjoying the most are the ones that took the longest to sink in.

Faves: Square One, Low, The Hardest Part, Swallowed by the Sea