July 30, 2014
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Review: Explosive vocalist leads band to brink of musical perfection

"The Brink"

The Jezabels

From a sea of punchy bass pedals, the voice of Hayley Mary, lead singer of Australian rock band The Jezabels, rises confidently, taking precedence over energetic guitar riffs. She coos, “But from her grave she could make/ A rockin’ roller of you, son.” Yet, as Mary’s voice rockets upward to seemingly impossible notes, it becomes clear that it’s The Jezabels who will be rocking out, merging evocative vocals with exuberant instrumentation to deliver their newest album, “The Brink.”

On title track “The Brink,” the group of Aussie rockers doesn’t hesitate to jump right into the meat of the album. The opener is a head-banging ballad fit for stadiums, taking moments from its relentless drums and guitar to allow airy vocals and dreamy electric piano to reach the listeners’ ears. This dynamic is perhaps the group’s greatest strength. “The Brink” does not suffer from the monotonous instrumentation that befalls some rock bands, but rather finds an enticing middle ground between fragile and ferocious, giving audiences a listening experience that is both rousing and poignant.

Mary leads this diverse rock venture as her impressive vocal ability keeps up with drummer Nik Kaloper’s powerful drumming and guitarist Samuel Lockwood’s quick picking. The leading lady has a range to be reckoned with, going from seductive, velvety lows to explosive high notes, especially evident in tracks “Got Velvet” and “The End.” Her enthusiastic vocal performances deliver an authenticity to each of the album’s songs that works to further immerse listeners and ensure that a stale moment is never to be found.

Die-hard rock fans may argue that “The Brink” is a “soft” rock album, though this would not be the case. The Jezabels have brought with them all the aspects that make up the rock genre: animated, vibrant riffs and lively percussion that welcome listeners to move, mosh and head-bang their way through each track. However, all of this is delivered in a package that is admirably self-aware, knowing exactly when to take it down a notch, ultimately delivering a more valuable, emotional and refined musical experience.