Jagwar Ma – Every Now And Then
When Jagwar Ma quite literally burst onto the scene, they left in their wake an air of excitement, expectation and an eclectic energy that left people wanting more. Signed to Future Classic, a label predominantly known for its electronic roster, Jagwar Ma provided a refreshing rock edge that, although is now becoming increasingly present, at the time – it was not.
Their debut LP ‘Howlin’ saw them go on a spectacular journey through a multitude of genres, bringing in touches of everything from pop and dance music to psych rock, Britpop and a generally wild, experimental feel to it. Today on ‘Every Now And Then’ we see a much more controlled, refined and incredibly focussed Jagwar Ma, delivering intelligent tracks with layers upon layers of texture; they’ve explored enough genres now and they know exactly what they like from each of them and that is exactly what they’ve put into this effort.
Tracks such as “Say What You Feel” sees them embrace their Madchester ways in what at first appears as a straightforward, guitar-heavy track, but it isn’t long before the synths come in, along with the steel drums to hold steady while the vocals are phased out.
Lead single “Give Me A Reason” which boasts a running time of over seven minutes, does well to remain consistently interesting throughout. But then considering the track includes Winterfield doing some incredulous spoken word about The Amoeba (a dance), that’s hardly a surprise. Winterfield’s vocals really shine in “Slipping” a track that is sure to be a late night favourite for many, his falsetto is impeccable and the broken percussion of the track only exemplifies this.
“OB1” sees Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa provide some booming, strong percussion, whilst nostalgia-inducing synths whirl around, resulting in one of the most intense tracks on the album.
The soundscaping in “Don’t Make It Right” is intricately fascinating, but unfortunately, lacks any real direction. Whilst ‘Batter Up’ is incredibly direct, exuding with attitude in every aspect, from the drum and bass stylings, also reminiscent of the likes of Panda Bear that bubbles and distorts around almost cocky vocals.
Album closer ‘Colours of Paradise’ drifts away into house territory, not quite enough to be radio ready, but an alternative, trippy house styling that is altogether delicious.
Jagwar Ma have delivered an album that’s interesting remarkably noteworthy in how it peaks the listener’s interest, but it’s fair to say that when compared to the likes of The Avalanches and Tame Impala – they’re yet to reach their full potential.
They’ve pulled together an admirable focus and a whole lot of control, but then they’ve lost the wild and free air that was so loved from their first album, which has resulted in the impression that they’re playing it safe and holding themselves back.
It’s clear that Jagwar Ma are incredibly talented and whilst this album is in no way disappointing, it’s clear that they still have quite a journey ahead of them, hopefully one where they can embrace both spontaneity, as well as maintaining the level of technical control that has proved themselves as seriously talented musicians on this LP.