Roy Jurgens on
It’s always inspiring to witness a band’s continued maturation, especially after overcoming an obstacle or three. The Jezabels, the once-frivolous, indie band from Sydney have grown into an intense, compelling unit that isn’t afraid to embrace subjects that can make a listener bristle with discomfort. It is in this spirit that director Max Hemmings’ video for the single off their latest release “Synthia” finds itself. Feminist without being militant, icily sensual without being overtly provocative, the cinema behind “Pleasure Drive” is anything but a light, pleasurable jaunt. Haunting and pulsing with a fervent darkness, the song delves into the somber territory of manipulation and pain of dysfunction, and how a victim can become haunted and jaundiced by a demeaning relationship.
Vocalist Hayley Mary channels Christina Amphlett’s sultry bangs, while her soaring vocals recall Kate Bush at her emotive peak. A nervous electricity arcs through the track, a cold undercurrent throbbing beneath the lush vocal melancholia that gives way to redemption and culminates into a tragic freedom. The song treads the difficult terrain between the hideous and stunning with an adeptness that is both sonically rich and subtle. The video’s greasy spoon backdrop captures the draining hopelessness of the subject’s damning existence. The symbolism is telling, junk food without nutrition, deliberate pain without recompense, vampirism without the relief of death. The lesson here is should you dig a well and fill it with pain, the water that springs forth will be a bitter poison that will eventually curse all that drink from it.
“Synthia” came out Feb. 12; as previously announced, the quartet’s touring plans are on hold while keyboardist Heather Shannon undergoes treatment for ovarian cancer.
||| Watch: The video for “Pleasure Drive”