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.