Online Music Editor Megan Frost reviews Jadu Heart’s latest album
Such imprecision of genres can result in unintentionally masking the identity of an artist. Jadu Heart’s Melt Away is a wool-gathering of psychedelic-funk, folk, chillwave, and acoustic. Yet, the masked duo intentionally elude their own identity – often appearing in this demeanour within their own image and their own prodigious sounds. It’s not necessarily about concealing their identity, it’s using alter egos to explore their potential, in terms of genre. In particular, this album places self-mythology within a virtual scope. 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: one borderless and of “deeper space and time”.
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”. It later takes an action-adventure stumble upon a bridge – a different passage sieving the tune’s daintiness to low-pitched auto-tuned vocals. It’s like dew dropped from branches – transposed to something a little monstrous and unfitting, but nevertheless the piece itself is still an energetic-surge. 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
Dabbled in stormy drops of emotion “falling like an angel in the sea” and distanced from human flesh is ‘Forgotten Ghosts’. Fingerpicked guitar with punchy electric beats is a powerful fusion – 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” – as guitar strings turn to heartstrings. A wisp of a violin is like a puff of smoke within the already-entrenched fog surrounding the piece. ‘The Omen’, instead, inverts the same finger-picked notes in remaining “whispers, echoes, and riddles” – it seems reversed and an odd parallel within the album, especially since most of the tracks are so non-specific.
Psychedelic-funk is incorporated in brief moments across the album, like in ‘Wanderlife’. It places jagged beats and synthesisers in a float-drenched piece on pining. Funk also meets fruity-beverage in the surreal ‘Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea’. A more lo-fi, bass-meets-strummed guitar is ‘Heroin Song’. Beginning bare and simple, it brews within each electric chorus that falls into the lyrical lucid state. Like fluctuating states of being, vocals enter in and out of the bride in a vacuum-like sound. Yet, the guitar is so slickly slid that all positions fuse into one.
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.
‘The Omen’, instead, inverts the same finger-picked notes in remaining “whispers, echoes, and riddles”
Jadu Heart’s uncanny – and usually futuristic – elements are jigsawed with folky sounds. It is only really the cover of Vashti Bunyan’s ‘Diamond Day’ that slackens into this rural soundscape – “diamond day/just another blade of grass/just another bale of hay”. Simple piano and violin scales are building-blocks to oriental-recorder. Kazoo-like vocals mixed with repeated la’s mimic the humble playfulness we see on the album. 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 and scope, alongside with some exquisite harp-like strings. However, this becomes misted again as a drop is followed by stop-start paces and jarring alienist 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.