Online Music Editor Megan Frost reviews Jadu Heart’s latest album
Jadu Heart’s Melt Away is a wool-gathering of psychedelic-funk, folk, chillwave, and acoustic. Such a broad range of genres can sometimes mask the true stylistic identity of an artist: if an artist uses so many styles then it can be difficult to work out their style. However, the masked duo Jadu Heart intentionally elude their own identity; they often appear masked, particularly within their image and sounds. It’s not necessarily about concealing their identity, it’s using alter egos to explore their potential in terms of genre. For instance, the track ‘Zorah Come Home’ takes the aquatic Zora clan within The Legend of Zelda game series. With its own aquatic sound effects and synthesisers slotted within sections, the album aligns with a virtual, open-world.
The tracks are explorative within this world, not forgetting Jadu Heart are relatively upcoming. ‘The Cure’ scatters harmonic-scale ukulele chords over beats rummaging through jungles and “Pathways/Long lasting”. Also with jungle-like beats is ‘Euphoria’; with sludgy synthesisers, this one is a much slower exploration – particularly with its spoken-narrative on walking through a forest.
Indulgently mellow and rich in dissonant harmonies
Fingerpicked guitar with punchy electric beats is a powerful fusion in ‘Forgotten Ghosts’ – stylistically similar to bands like Alt-J – even when the intricacy pervades; piercing emotion is evident in the line “interweaving, looking deep inside the pain”. Psychedelic-funk is incorporated in brief moments across the album, like in ‘Wanderlife’. Funk also meets fruity-beverage in the surreal ‘Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea’. A more lo-fi, bass-meets-guitar is ‘Heroin Song’. Beginning bare and simple, it brews within each chorus and falls into a lyrical, lucid state. Like fluctuating states of being, vocals enter in and out of the bride in a vacuum-like sound.
The 2017 single ‘I’m a Kid’ features on Melt Away and it cannot be disputed; it’s indulgently mellow and rich in dissonant harmonies. A simple drumbeat serves as a metronome, layers of guitar warble, and it tethers itself two years later onto this album – it truly is timeless. It’s a little odd that it has been strung along, but the album would be so incomplete without it.
Jadu Heart’s more futuristic elements are combined with folky sounds. It is only really the cover of Vashti Bunyan’s ‘Diamond Day’ that fully immerses this folk style, using violin and oriental-recorder. Both Alex and Diva sing, this time without harmony, bringing a clear scope to the mistiness surrounding the rest of Melt Away. ‘Purity’ begins with the same crisp vocals, alongside with some exquisite harp-like strings. However, the jarring vocals that don’t seem to quite fit when the two styles blend.
Jadu Heart certainly have ambition and a highly visual scope, even within their own low-budget music videos and alter egos. Each song stands out, but as an album it becomes murky, breaking its flow. It’s more of a pick-and-mix of songs – as opposed to a consistent album.