22 Aug 2019
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Jaggers x Lines - Album Review: Burn Cycle

05 Oct 2018 // A review by Darryl Baser

Dunedin EDM (Electric Dance Music) duo Jaggers X Lines have been putting in the mahi (work) over a few years; headlining their own shows and playing support slots to some credible touring acts including looping wunderkind Tash Sultana.

The pairing of Eliana Gray and Morgan Smilie describe themselves as ‘alt-pop weirdos’, and it’s a fitting description.

As their debut full length album progresses, it's easy to hear that they’ve captured these songs at the right time. Right from the Let's Go vocal sample on Problem Drinking which sounds like it comes from an 80's jazzercise album, the tone is set for a great debut release. Burn Cycle is beautifully produced with Morgan Smilies’s expertly crafted beats providing an addictive canvas for Gray’s vocals to weave across.

The press mentions ‘Gray healing from trauma’, but there’s no heaviness, or melancholy, or self-indulgence here, no ‘oh poor me’. Lyrically it sounds like someone who’s been through an unfavourable experience or two but is through the other side and heading toward celebration. If one takes the words or event theme of Let Me Let You In in a literal way, it could tell of someone who’s been emotionally or even physically burnt in a relationship and is hoping a new friend or partner can help her break down the walls they’ve put up to protect themselves from hurt…Or I’m way off base, and it’s a metaphor. Let Me Let You In is one of the more up-tempo numbers on the album and could even get this partially fossilised reviewer dancing.

Smilie is a great producer with a keen ear for great samples and song construction, whether it's on slower numbers like Hold Me Tighter or Soft Little Lights he knows where to fill space and how to let songs breath with space.

In the 1980's and into the 1990's the electronic dance music genre in some ways took up where progressive rock left off with long remixes designed for a drugged-out dance floor, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Jaggers X Lines first full length offering the songs are succinct.

The 9-song album closes with the absolute banger that is Losing My Breath which stomps along for just 2:49 and in this not-so-humble reviewer’s opinion could easily have been twice that length.

Burn Cycle is a strong and confident first full-length release which should set Jaggers X Lines up for a fantastic career.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Jaggers x Lines

New Zealand’s Jaggers x Lines (Eliana Gray and Morgan Smilie) continue to surprise with their eclectic approach to pop music. Piano trills, horn blasts and insistent bass punctuate the sample heavy breakbeats. A disarming mix of jazzercise records, Gray's intimate vocals and Smillie's turntablist sensibilities; Jaggers x Lines sound like the moment the house party starts to break.

Formed in the early morning hours of 'world's smallest bar' where Gray used to work, a jam session transformed into a debut EP Letters, recorded in Smillie's bedroom over the course of two weeks. Four singles, a national tour and an impending debut album and music video later, the scratch-happy duo is finding out exactly what happens when you filter the mind of a pop-obsessed poet through the beats of a producer who grew up in Dunedin's underground MC scene.

Spotify Page

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jaggers x Lines

Releases

Burn Cycle
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Letters
Year: 2017
Type: EP

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