Tidbits: Album Review of Jagwar Ma, Howlin’

by Cassandra Mullinix. 0 Comments

The “Aussie beat” is hot right now and I’m not joking. Musicians from the “down under” seem to be on top of the game in recent indie rock trends.

Tame Impala was the first Australian band last year to turn heads and now we have Jagwar Ma starting to receive mass press coverage on the verge of their new album release (scheduled for 06/11/13). Most like to describe them as a modern incarnation of The Stone Roses, but really Jagwar Ma is much more upbeat and electronic centric.

Howlin’, the second release from Jagwar Ma is a mix of tame impala like psych effects with 90’s electronic dance beats complete with mod siren sounds and a tweaked industrial undertone. The first track, What Love set’s the tone nicely bringing on the cheap, but irresistible head-bobbing grooves.

I should mention at this point, that I feel like modern dub step tribal trance dance listeners will hate this album because Howlin’ basically ignores the existence of the genre and pretends like the computer world really did end in the year 2000. I suspect modern electronic aficionado’s will chalk it up as some weak pop market bubble gum junk, but that’s kind of exactly why I like it.

The whole album is about combining the fun elements of psych and 90’s electronic in an incredibly tasty and digestible way, there is nothing about the artistry here that get overly technical and in fact a few times during the album you’ll notice it’s just simple loops and no one is hiding that fact.

The second song, Uncertainty is a great melodic track with great hooky lyrics and one of my favorite jams on the album. The Throw is a very digital Primal Scream reminiscent track coming it at almost 7mins that takes melodic jungle beat excursions around every hooky corner. The Loneliness, breaks the electronic sweat with a more Brit 90’s alternative sounding pop rock vibe. Come Save Me, starts out with a chorus you might find in 1950’s pop rock song. Simple lyrics such as “I don’t think you want me like I want you” repeating and then “I don’t want a love like this” building in crescendo and then breaking into psych electronic melodies. The song continues with the doowop pop vocals and modulates a variety of instrumentation and effects underneath on the same rhythm.

Four is the half way point of the album and returns to a highly modular and tight electronic beat, another 6+ min song that gives you the chance to get in zone and get your groove on. Let Her Go harkens the Brit Pop explosion of the 90’s once again in a short 3min rock song format. Man I Need is a balanced track of psych rock, pop hooks, and electronic overtones with the most appeal for a single in my opinion.

Winding down, Exercise pushes the psych rock electronic balance further taking a few more opportunities to indulge in electronic beats and melodies. Did You Have To is a slow psych jam full of soft choruses and a bit of a contrast to the rest of the album. Backwards Berlin is the final song on the album and Jagwar Ma take one more opportunity to deliver an extended groove clocking in at almost 6 min. It’s a song that starts off very ambient and abstract in nature, but builds in dreamy solidarity.

Overall, the album is fantastically diverse in nostalgia and a good one to get you moving in one way or another.

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