JAGWAR MA – ‘Every Now and Then’ Album Review

Australian band Jagwar Ma drew comparisons with dance rock artists such as Happy Mondays and ‘Screamadelica’ era Primal Scream upon release of their 2013 debut ‘Howlin’. The band’s second album is another collection of dance-y, psychedelic songs guaranteed to please fans of the band. The band (now a trio with the arrival of bassist Jack Freeman) have just finished the UK leg of an international tour and released ‘Every Now and Then’ in mid October. The album was recorded in several locations spanning more than one continent – including a studio the band helped build themselves in a rural French farmhouse. It also features several special guest appearances from Arctic Monkey’s producer James Ford and Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa amongst others.

Immediately apparent upon listening to the album is a sense of fun and playfulness.  Lead single ‘OB-1’ is named after the Oberheim OB-1 synthesiser, whilst seven minute epic ‘Give Me a Reason’ features an extended outro involving the band giving instructions for a dance move called ‘The Amoeba’, a moment that could be characterised as both sublime and ridiculous. Whilst these songs, along with ‘Slipping’ are stand-out tracks, this sense of lightheartedness continues throughout.

Despite its many influences, ‘Every Now and Then’ manages to be strikingly original. This is perhaps actually because of these influences: there are so many of them, from such eclectic sources, that if one track reminds you of something, the next certainly won’t. The album moves between electronica, psychedelic rock, soul and numerous other genres – in the case of ‘Give Me a Reason’ often in the same song.

In comparison to their first album, ‘Every Now and Then’ leans slightly more in the electronic direction. However, there are more than enough similarities to ensure that anybody who enjoyed ‘Howlin’ will also enjoy ‘Every Now and Then’. Meanwhile Jagwar Ma’s lengthy touring schedule, which has included support slots with fellow Aussies Tame Impala may help bring ‘Every Now and Then’ to a wider audience.

 

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