Monday 27 August 2012

The Jezabels - City Girl

Over a decade ago, I used to tune into American radio stations over the Internet in order to listen to music I hadn't heard of before. I'd be listening to bands that were unheard of in the UK, hearing songs that still floated within my little comfort bubble of Western popular music, discovering tunes that a massive nation had already regarded as popular and/or successful. I did it not only to try and find something new, but also because I found the whole experience a little amusing and interesting. It was somewhat curious that a song could exist just across the ocean: listened to, enjoyed, and bought by millions; yet 99.9% of the English population had probably never heard a single note of it. That's not to say that we weren't soaking up tonnes of American imports at that time. We were. But generally the American airwaves were entirely disparate to the British.

Now, things are a lot more similar. Leading music station Radio 1 might not play every single released by the top American artists, but chances are they've digitally spun at least some of them. Browse through their weekly playlist and there's a lot more airplay for our transatlantic neighbours, and of course plenty of British music too. Tune into an American station today as an English person and, if you happen to be keeping up with current popular music, there won't be an awful lot that takes you by surprise. Good thing? Bad thing? I'll leave that up to you (or for a later post, at least).

The Jezabels
The Jezabels
What it does mean is that the USA is no longer my go-to for that fix of something-new-yet-"Western". With the slot empty, Australia has piped up. And it has shoved The Jezabels to the front as my initiation.

For an indie-rock band that have existed commercially for around four years, have won the Australian Music Prize for their album 'Prisoner', and have relentlessly toured the festival circuit, it really seems like they should be deserving of a little more recognition over here - perhaps that time has now come after being Garbage's support act last month in their UK tour. It's certainly easy to tell from the broadening swells and crescendos of their music that The Jezabels have concentrated on being a live act; but they have done superbly well in translating this onto a record and still maintaining that epic feel.

The most recent single, City Girl, stands comfortably beside their previous releases and shouldn't shock their fans at all. However, its sound surges into something much bigger and more anthemic than the likes of Trycolour or Endless Summer, and thus could well be the song that builds their popularity with newer listeners.

The lead singer has been likened vocally to Paramore's Hayley Williams, and although from her strong delivery it is easy to see - or hear - why, it would perhaps be more complimentary to suggest she shares a similarity in voice with The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde. Furthermore, the band as a whole has much more in common with the likes of Arcade Fire, The Killers, or (White on Blonde-era) Texas when you take into account the expansive orchestration and jumps in range.

Will the UK get treated to a little more from The Jezabels, or will they remain solely the joy of our antipodean friends? I personally hope that it is the former, and they've definitely put the hard work in to become a treasure that Australia shares with us.

"I feel like an actor when I'm onstage, not a rock artist. It's not much of a vocation, being a rock and roller." - David Bowie

No comments:

Post a Comment