Album Review: THE JEZABELS “Dark Storm” EP

Dulce Arroyo, Arts & Life Editor

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True to its name, “Dark Storm” by The Jezabels is an album that—although it has only 5 tracks—encompasses deep, poetic lyrics and a mysterious mood in each song. The Australian indie/pop-folk band (composed of Hayley Mary on vocals, Nik Kaloper on drums, Samuel Lockwood on guitars, and Heather Shannon on keys) does an outstanding job of turning the pain of life into honest, heartbreakingly human music.
The EP opens with “Dark Storm,” a hauntingly sexy track that begins with a guitar solo and the odd combination of colorful words “Bright white cockatoo / baby how I ponder your shadow.” The rhythm flows even better as soon as the drums kick in, though the story of lost love unfolds as Hayley softly sings “No one told me the end of the line / could be only emptiness,” and ends it with “oh pristine / my hopeless thing.”
While “Mace Spray” opens with a thrilling tempo that could be heard on a movie soundtrack, it has straightforward lyrics in the chorus of “She keeps mace spray / for you can’t rely on the common man.” These words are emphasized significantly as the drums cease, and only Hayley’s voice blends with a single electric guitar each time she says them. “Sahara Mahala” (which translates to “the greatest desert slum”) talks about missing someone so much that thinking about him or her becomes an illusion—an oasis in the vast and empty desert of loneliness. But the repetition of the words “Sahara mahala” is particularly catchy, since the words are rich in the ‘a’ sound that is easy to sing.
“A Little Piece” includes Hayley’s high-pitched voice throughout the chorus, as she tells the object of her affection that all she needs is “a little piece of cherry pie.” I got the feeling that the track is about an argument between them, since she sings “letting those feelings loose / she was becoming a monster.” But the question “Don’t you miss me like I miss you?” might mean that it escalated to their break up, something universally pondered by those reminiscing about past relationships.
The fifth and final track “She’s So Hard” has an especially mellow and introspective feeling with lyrics like “And maybe you’re just to good for me / or maybe you’re just no use to me,” shows that sometimes, we don’t want to fully admit if a relationship ended solely because of the other person, or if we played a part in its demise.
The Jezabels come highly recommended for fans of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Hayley’s voice is reminiscent of Karen O), The Kills, Tegan and Sara, and Metric. The band will be coming to Chicago in March for their performance at Scuba’s Tavern—check them out if you get the chance.