Jagwar Ma return with their second album Every Now & Then.
The Sydney-formed band came together for sessions across a handful of studios and locations in Australia, the UK and France to shake up an altogether inspired new offering. Full of spirit and exploding with the energy of new ideas, Every Now & Then is formed from the building blocks of a myriad of sonic touchstones upon which Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield concoct a heady, uplifting brew that very much owns it’s own space on the spectrum.
Singer/guitarist Gabriel Winterfield and multi-instrumentalist Jono Ma originally joined forces at the turn of the decade, having reached an impasse with their previous bands. Liberated, they instantly felt their horizons opening up, culminating in the kaleidoscopic dub-pop of Jagwar Ma’s 2013 debut album Howlin. Augmented by their old Sydney friend Jack Freeman on bass and backing vocals they set about creating their own infectious groove with their increasingly powerful live show.
After almost three years of touring the world (including tours with Foals, The xx and Tame Impala) the band returned to Australia to write and begin recording at Sonar studios in Sydney. With the basis of the album written, the band headed back to La Briche near Tours in rural France, where they had recorded their debut in a self-built studio on a friend's partly-renovated farm, before returning to London to record drum sessions with Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa and James Ford and finishing mixing with old friend Ewan Pearson in their new shared Tottenham studio The Bunker II.
Jono is a student of the studio in the Jagwar Ma camp, and on Every Now & Then his production hand constructs the richly singular sonic world each track inhabits. The record is littered with surprising selections yet maintains an ebb and flow that echoes that of a day in coastal Australia. 'Repetition invites participation' and the composition of Every Now & Then is testament to the turn of phrase, subtly seducing with loose-limbed sinewy grooves on loop.
Entrancing incantations on romantic love, truth and courage come courtesy of co-songwriter and lead vocalist Gabriel. Lush melody from leftfield, grungey phrasing and pagan shapes, Winterfield flows in tandem with each song’s unique sea of sound. “Can we be real?”
Classic bass lines, jangly guitar parts and Paul's Boutique-inspired loops bounce off elements of synth-pop and encounter bass heavy experiments redolent of Blanck Mass and other elements of the Norwegian electronic onslaught together with swelling psychedelic choruses, reminiscent of summer-kissed Ocean Rain-period Bunnymen, exploding into melodic, sun soaked wig-outs.
At heart, a studio album, designed for lone listening on headphones but as a shared experience is where it will really come to life. Their live appearances for Howlin’ were electric and key elements of Every Now & Then took on extra shape while touring Europe with fellow compatriots Tame Impala, successfully working out the structure of tracks in front of arena crowds.
Every Now & Then deftly covers a broad expanse of sound and mood. Say What You Feel gradually envelopes with it’s tireless drive and shape shifting form to an ecstatic peak, before Loose Ends cools down the pace with dubbed, fractured melodies. Give Me A Reason flips from muted funk pop to percolating, percussive house before seamlessly transitioning into a gyrating, teched up club tool. The glorious dynamism continues with Ordinary’s quantum leap chorus, while High Rotation possesses a sinister spirit, a chuggy druggy groove and compelling, cultish chanting. Colour Of Paradise closes out the record, a bittersweet beauty of surf melodies and euphoric synths - ‘searching through every grain of sand’, lifting off and leaving the earthly territory behind completely for a deeper, more celestial, spacey place.
From underwater liquid rhythm through to joyous, floating in the clouds sky highs, Every Now & Then is Jagwar Ma’s cathartic new injection we endeavour you to dose up on.