THE JEZABELS – Synthia (Dine Alone): Hail Hayley Mary, her relentless pace, the chords are with thee. Only a curmudgeon could deny the Jezabels’ ability to make epic, sweeping synth(ia) soundscapes of swelling intensity or resist frontwoman Hayley Mary’s siren song, which can swing from seductive and sultry to shrieking vibrato within a single phrase. And I liked their first two albums well enough, which repeated the same formula of equal parts rhythm-centric synthtopia and hammering indie intensity (which, as I’ve mentioned before, the band has delightfully combined into the term ‘intensindie’ to refer to their sound). Imagine Arcade Fire’s “No Cars Go” or “The Sprawl II” taken to their logical extreme and that’s where you’ll find this Aussie quartet pounding away.
Of course, when your default gear is intensity, sustaining that kind of momentum gets increasingly difficult—not just across a single album, but an entire discography. So while Mary’s sexual drive and feminist front is more pronounced here than on either Prisoner or The Brink (she has no problem getting turned on by dirty talk or whistled at on the street, but she draws the line at being told to smile), the problem resides in the overly-long compositions that unfold tirelessly and peter out about halfway through. With only ten tracks running nearly an hour, the shortest of them clocking in at 4:15 and the two bookending the album the longest at over seven minutes, you’ll need plenty of “Stamina, stamina, stamina” to make it through this epic tour-de-force. B PLUS (**)