Say hello to Jinxbox, an alternative dream pop band from MIddlebury, Vermont and their curiously delightful album Relief. This is not Jinxbox's first rodeo as Relief is the band's second album. Their sound for this album is very light and crisp and above all it's enchanting, While the album is mostly electronic, the sound is delicate and rooted in what sounds like organic influences. There is something special here that I really enjoyed.
Let's start with the undeniably cool tones of the vocalist Zara London-Southern. With most electric music the vocals are often blended into to the rest of ambiance. With Jinxbox, they let the vocals steal the show. London-Southern’s singing style is beautiful while also a little haunting and sometimes even a little jazzy. I have no way of knowing for sure, but her skill makes me think she is classically trained, and if not, she has killer instincts on how to work her instrument. She delivers the bluntly written lyrics with such ease and clarity. The lyrics fit her voice like a glove, again very cool in an offbeat sort of way. I enjoy being able to follow the accessible narratives crafted into each song.
The synth and keys for the music is very low-key but poignant. This is not your typical electric setup full of reverb and fluff. There's a lot of layers involved, everything is laser focused and very linear. There is a lot of piano used which just sounds stunning underneath the vocals. The songs are often slow in tempo and pace and often build into delicate, soft climaxes. Each track is unique though, and pulls from different musical influences so the pacing is not tedious. It's also easy and fun to go for a second listen and pinpoint details missed the first time around.
The whole album sounds great and has a professional touch to it. Since the production of the music is so unique and intriguing I'm going to go ahead and take a quote so that the process is properly explained and the equipment is listed correctly.
"Relief was instrumentally entirely electronic and produced using many VST synths from Native Instruments and Serum, using Logic as the DAW. The writing and synth recording process happened in Barry's home studio (Matias Van Order Gonzalez's house). The vocals for the album were recorded in the Bard College studio using an AKG 414 vocal mic and Focusrite preamps. The album was mixed at Liontone studio in Pro Tools, and mostly Waves plugins (CLA76 was a commonly used compressor, the TransXWide was an important transient shaper for the electronic drum sounds). The album was mastered back in the Bard College studio."
Relief is the kind of album that could appeal to a broad range of electronic, indie and singer/ songwriter fans. I would say this album has forged a little bit of new ground where almost anyone could be into it. Congratulations to Jinxbox on creating something so overtly cool and interesting. It's hard to surprise me these days and I can say with confidence that I was pleasantly surprised.
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