Melbourne experimental pop/rock outfit Jaala will release their new album Joonya Spirit next month to follow up their well received debut Hard Hold from 2015. On that record enigmatic songwriter, guitarist/vocalist Cosima Jaala Pay employed an approach to songwriting that seemed to effortlessly and almost subconsciously fuck with convention. On Joonya Spirit, her naturally distinct and affecting vocal style, mathematically inspired chord structures and tightly wound melodies are again in ample supply, complemented in crucial fashion by the deft, innovative and technical drumming of Maria Moles. The new album does however represent an end of an era for the band as a quartet with fellow guitarist Nic Lam and bassist Loretta Wilde taking their leave having substantially contributed to Pay’s vision. Their replacement is Fia Fiel’s Carolyn Schofield whose presence on synths will usher in a significant change in direction.
All elements that made Hard Hold a great album are found in abundance on Joonya Spirit’s exceptional second single, ‘Horn’ arguably the best thing Pay has written. The degree of formulaic difficulty present in the arrangements on that previous record have if anything, been taken up a notch as has the adroit creation of space in the use of tone and volume. And Pay’s mercurial vocals have never sounded better. But there is also an added textural radiance provided by greater experimentation with guitar created effects which serves to colour and heighten every unlikely turn ‘Horn’ takes. Simultaneously muscular and ornate, it begins with a serving of spacious chord driven pop with added tinges of jazz before developing organically into a wondrous experiment in both sound and movement. During the track’s gradual climb, slow heat is applied to an atmospheric glow which reaches a bulbous constant. Pay gradually aligns her ever shifting vocal tone to time perfectly with scurrying guitar motifs and resonant chord progressions. Every musical element then magically adheres to Moles’s stunning drum fill patterns, quickly working themselves into a measured frenzy leaving the listener in a state of aural euphoria . Go there with ‘Horn’ below. Wow!
3. Good Circuit
6. Long Live
7. Frog’s Tears
8. Junior Spirit
From the forthcoming album, ‘Joonya Spirit’, Bedroom Suck/Remote Control/Captured Tracks/Cargo/P-Vine. Out Apr. 20.