Jagwar Ma – Every Now and Then Review 

With 2013’s Howlin, the Sydney based duo of Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield proved themselves to be talented producers and forgers of differing sounds. Since then, Australian music has been increasing in both critical and popular stature so it seems only apt that they have been supporting Tame Impala on their tour prior to the release of their second album Every Now and Then. They’ve enlisted the help of producer James Ford and fellow Aussie Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint. They have opted for a more clean cut sound this time around, but have kept their philosophy of genre fusing, so with that behind them, they should have steered clear of the cliche of the difficult second album.

‘Give Me A Reason’ is a track maintains the tripping rhythms of a Stone Roses track, but is much more fluid with free, meandering synth chords and resonant beats. These signal a dance rhythm and echoed Pop vocals. It is a track that seems to initially lack direction, but goes on to grow and flourish with each seamless shift. ‘Slipping’ opens with hazy electronica and a resonant base sound from which the vocals gently rise. Clarity in these parts of the song grows as the song gradually comes to fruition, with electronic percussion adding a sense of pace to the hazy and unhinged sounds. It becomes pretty standard work from the duo, but it demonstrates a marked improvement in arrangement to match their flair behind their production flair. ‘OB1’ has strong echoes of Howlin with quick moving, yet understated beats that merge with the rising electronic elements merging into them as the song goes on. They also blend in vocal samples as a backing track instrument. It certainly cements their talent from 2013, but nothing more than that. 

‘Ordinary’ opens with groove laden riffs and simple rock formats that turn to hazy dance sweeps with Gabriel Winterfield’s vocals soaring far above them. A solid if underwhelming track that doesn’t realise it’s full potential. ‘Colours of Paradise’ is track that introduces itself with flashing synths and rotating samples below them. These sounds shift in and out of focus on top of Gabriel’s echoed vocals before a heavier, distorted dance beat establishes itself as the tracks end. In a way it is reflective of the whole album; full of good ideas and flashes of talent, but not collated in a powerful or evocative way. The rest of the album features half baked tracks that are without direction or purpose. That is what they need to find as you feel a game changing album is in them once they work out what they wish to achieve. Despite an undoubtedly solid effort, between the French country house recording sessions and the second album syndrome, it is all a bit of a cliche after all. 

Jagwar Ma – Every Now and Then = 7/10 

Owen Riddle

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