Dark, gritty, rapid instrumentation mix with light, explosive vocals in “Synthia” by Australian group, The Jezabels. Hayley Mary’s singing ability is reminiscent of how Cyndi Lauper would perform if she was part of a modern electronic rock band. While electro is at the core of the album, it sometimes feels very stadium-rock, showing off the group’s dynamic qualities.
Based on the title, it’s no surprise that synth-driven piano from Heather Shannon is a big part of the record. “Synthia” is primed for today’s music climate, where anything goes and we’re slowly evolving out of being “retro” with one particular decade. It shows us that by taking the best elements of pop-culture, there’s still room for creating new sounds and experiences in the future.
“Anyone concerned that Mary’s descent into the international rock & roll underbelly might have turned the band into swaggering rock pigs can breathe easy: as befits an album named Synthia, Shannon’s new collection of keyboards dominate the record.
“In a way the synthesiser is retro, and in another way it’s more futuristic and guitar music seems more retro,” Mary suggests. “I know there’s a romanticism about guitar music and the blues, but in the Seventies there was this feeling of, ‘No, let’s go forward and use computers and machines.’ Kraftwerk as opposed to the Beatles. Other things can be rock & roll.” – Rolling Stone
“Mary’s remarkable voice can flip from coquettish to roaring siren on the turn of a phrase and it makes a generous vehicle for her panoply of often-conflicted female identities. On Synthia she cycles through rage, confusion, lust, embarrassment, anger, familial concern and wry humour, often all in the space of a song (the build-to-explosion of opener Stand and Deliver). It feeds a prickly duality that haunts Synthia: pleasure-seeking thrills pitted against the potential punishment of intimacy.” – The Guardian