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The Jezabels: Synthia

Mighty choruses and big emotions from troubled Australian synth-rockers.

Saturated with fizzing synthesisers and anthemic choruses, this third album from Australian electro-goth quartet The Jezabels is an emotionally charged affair, and is overshadowed by news that the band’s planned world tour has been postponed while keyboard player Heather Shannon undergoes cancer treatment.

Synthia is full of vivid maximalist swagger, with singer Hayley Mary channelling everyone from Kate Bush to Bonnie Tyler on shimmering power ballads like Smile, Stand And Deliver and the breathy Krautrock-ish throbber Pleasure Drive.

Some of these tracks are more just fleshed-out grooves than full-blooded songs, while the operatic emotionalism becomes a little wearying in places. That said, Mary has never sounded so versatile vocally or so proudly feminist in lyrical intent, while Nik Kaloper’s metronomic drumming puts some welcome rock muscle behind the glossy pop surface. It’s the band’s richest album yet, and hopefully it heralds Shannon’s speedy recovery.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.