Every now and again, an artist—or band—crops up out of nowhere and absolutely stuns with one listen of their debut album. Following a string of EP’s released between 2009 and 2010, this alternative rock band from Sydney, Australia, released their first full-length effort, Prisoner, in 2011 to much critical acclaim, cementing their place in both Australian and international music industries. Since then, The Jezabels have performed at countless music festivals around the world and enjoyed international success.
So it was surprising, really, when their second album, The Brink, was released rather quietly, with no major promotion or chart-topper hit that reached the audiences like its predecessors did. It was equally surprising that, upon first listen, the band has somewhat muted their outrageously loud and gushing sound that had critics falling head-over-heels for on their debut, and have made a more tightly-knit album; the band had refined their work.
However, in the case of The Jezabels, who possess Hayley McGlone—a lead singer capable of powering her way through songs with a vocal range comparable to even Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine—refinement hasn’t translated very well, and has left her with little musical support behind her massive vocals.
Not only are the songs somewhat underwhelming—there is not one track on the record that is an immediate, brilliant slap-in-the-face of genius—lyrically, they are rather… dated. McGlone was quoted as saying this album is more personal, and it is fairly clear as the majority of the songs deal with love and issues closer-to-home than their globally-thematic work of Prisoner.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad album; however, it’s hardly a step in the right direction for the band’s sound—possibly even a step backwards for them. The Brink represents an unquestionable sophomore slump, and although there is not one necessarily ‘bad’ song on the album, there isn’t one that grabs you immediately.