Marathon – 14th October
Sydney psych-pop trio Jagwar Ma dropped something truly special with debut Howlin’ back in 2013; upon creating a hazy blend of baggy 90s trip hop and atmospheric guitar-pop, they managed to sound like the genre’s innovators.
The trio’s ability to produce care-free psychedelia reminiscent of Manchester’s finest has suffered no loss in the creation of their sophomore, which although arguably brings nothing overtly new from the band, does extend in experimental confidence. Every Now & Then is beautifully textured in sublime layers of synth, rhythmic guitar and backbeat, pervaded in retro dance cuts to create what can only be described as experimental-electronica dipped in glorious atmospheric dreampop.
Impressive craftsmanship from the band’s production member, Jono Ma means that Every Now & Then makes for an incredibly exciting and unpredictable listen. However, though, this is not to say it is in any way way absent of pop hooks. Similar the their debut, the album salutes both the infections late-eighties style of Madchester favourites The Stone Roses (‘Give Me A Reason’, ‘O B 1’) and the melodic charm and harmonious surf-psych vocals of The Beach Boys, headed by Winterfield.
Picking out the album’s peak is not an easy task. Despite its consistency in excelling in experimental electronics and ambient guitar, no one track is the same, nor even overly comparable. Single ‘Slipping’ is a wonderful minor-keyed pop song with spacey staccato synth and galloping beats, but experimentally the erratic composition of ‘High Rotation’ and the use of Freeman’s funky bass, tropical brass and continuously developing layers in ‘Loose Ends’ highly impress.
With electronic sounds seeping into many genres of chart music, Jagwar Ma are sure to continue successfully in bringing 90s psychedelic dance to contemporary listeners. To reproduce the sounds of such an iconic era of popular music and make it relevant and somehow new in 2016 is an achievement not to be taken lightly.
Every Now & Then is not a record that dramatically improves on its predecessor but, as they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.