Album Review: Jade Imagine – Basic Love

29 July 2019 | 4:01 pm | Tim Kroenert

"[T]he biggest knock on 'Basic Love' might be its persistent glumness."

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Kicking off Jade Imagine’s debut LP, singer-songwriter Jade McInally finds herself squarely in Courtney Barnett’s wheelhouse. Gonna Do Nothing's fuzzy pop with observations of the seemingly mundane is the Milk! founder’s speciality. But McInally carves out her own distinctive corner, the Talking Heads bombast of The News signalling an intent to reform her own art-rock and new-wave influences. A couple of tracks later, Remote Control nips at Blondie’s heals, entrancing with its sinister synths and bleak outlook. 

Guitarist-producer Tim Harvey’s work is top-notch. You can feel the room, and the arrangements are dynamic and thoughtful. The contemplative Big Old House rides Liam Halliwell’s chant-like bass to the rhythm of drummer James Harvey’s smart syncopations. The Weekend has guitar strings vibrating with sinister energy. On Cut Me Off, McInally’s restrained vocal picks its way through drifts of fuzz guitar. A spry bass line hints at a brightness threatening to burst through Past Life’s melancholy surface. Get Out Of Your Head stays small too, continuing the album-long trend towards the blue end of the emotional spectrum. 

In fact, the biggest knock on Basic Love might be its persistent glumness. Even Don’t Say It’s Over’s surprise saxophone diversions ultimately can’t light the way out of the doldrums.