23 Sep 2023

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Jazmine Mary - Album Review: Dog

01 Jun 2023 // A review by Roger Bowie

Jazmine Mary’s sophomore offering is out today; Friday June 3rd, and it’s called Dog. Why it’s called Dog they are not saying, but there are references to “Houndog” and “Flower Power” in the outro to Seagull, so maybe that explains it or maybe it doesn’t. But I’m not scared, words don’t have to have meaning do they? Words can be symbols and words can be sounds and for Jazmine Mary, who has about 35 jobs, all in the arts, expression is the key. Expression above explanation is the key, because the song is in the moment and moments move on. 

I get some insight into Jazmine Mary in my interview, and you can share that insight by watching 'It’s a Wrap with Roger', which we published yesterday, but I am both impressed and intrigued. Artists tend to be cerebral, they think deeply about things and the meaning of life and the disconnect between mind and body and how to synchronize and they also think spontaneously and freely, and I find Jazmine Mary to be one of those free spirits who take life seriously enough not to give a shit, not all of the time, but when it counts, when it’s important, when it's necessary for their spiritual and psychological health. And for Jazmine Mary music is the key, You’re Never Alone When You’ve Got Music speaks simply and unequivocally to the core of their self, even though the song was written in a completely un-serene state of mind (see the interview here).

And it comes through in their music. 

Dog starts with Dope, which happens to be called dog sometimes in summertime and when it’s smack, but here we are talking about a smoke and a chill out and an easing into the experience, so I know the album title is not about that sort of dog and I’m glad.

Seagull was released as the first song shortly after their fabulous first album, The Licking of a Tangerine, came out and is introduced by a sparse piano chord sequence. It’s a kind of dialogue between the seagull and the narrator and the seagull is upset by the absurdity of blame, for, I guess, shitting on the infrastructure which we all have built to crowd them out. The weightlessness of flight above the hate for the seagull, which is to hate what we have created. Orchestral manouevres around the bridge. And here’s the aforementioned hound dog but I know that’s not the dog of the album title.

Jazmine Mary grew up in a small Victorian town called Trafalgar which is a grandiose name for a small town in contrast to the absence of big ideas. There’s a touch of the autobiographical in Wet Mouth, the trip to the big city for a singing contest, but the wet mouth experience is a segue into a moment of sensual passion, the most sensitive of the senses being touch and the music does indeed touch us (from a distance).

What intrigues me is the disconnect, the juxtaposition of the music and sound, and their voices are also instruments. Each song is a journey, almost of discomfort, because once I start to get comfortable, there is either a different voice which appears, or all of a sudden from way outside, comes a searingly gorgeous and occasionally grating saxophone solo, as if one is passing by an open door and suddenly everything changes, sonically. And sometimes discordantly, like a fingernail on a blackboard. Like life.

Rodeo is a case in point, and also a case where they don’t conceive all the arrangements themselves, but co-produce with Peter Ruddell, and the core idea is then supplemented by improvised options, from which to choose. Rodeo is a beautiful song which I can only listen to, I have no need to delve into meaning, just listen and let it flow. And with Jazmine Mary and both their efforts to date, those remain the options, to delve into meanings, or just go with the flow and let the song wash over.

Which is another reason we only get occasional and somewhat reluctant explanations from them as to why this and why that and where does it come from and as both a listener and reviewer, I like that. It gives me freedom to interpret. Or not. Try it yourself. But you have to really listen.

Dave Khan also provides improvised options and Courtney Rodgers plays drums as well as taking pictures. Guesting are Elizabeth Stokes (The Beths) with some trumpet and flugelhorn and JY Lee on flute and sax.

July is another beautiful song in that it is slightly more, what we might call accessible, or familiar with its appeal to “dream a little dream of me” and moaning guitar, ten years after that ship went down.

About now, I am starting to register, with the same musicians (Dave and Peter) on both albums, and same instruments populating the spaces between words (sax, synth), the emergence of a Jazmine Mary sound, similar to that described above, and it brings great comfort as well as promise and once again I am glad. Jazmine Mary is arriving.

But it can’t be all happiness and light and the high of a little smoke, life goes up and down, and Getting Down is about one of those times, and everyone is dragged down with them.

Salt Lake Desert is another journey of sonic discomfort as well as beauty, with their voice spanning the octaves and speaking in tongues. But You’re Never Alone When You’ve Got Music and yet again I am glad.

Dog was partially recorded down in Kurow at Sublime Studios which describes the music as well as the setting. I dropped in to meet Steve and Fenella in January and our dog Rebel Rebel was confined to the car because Fenella’s dogs are a bit feral and country and don’t like the city slickers. I don’t think that’s what the album is about but it could be.

It could be about Yellow which has been a name of a dog in the past (as in Yeller) but that’s unlikely  and it’s definitely not about an orange (or a tangerine) but the closing song is Take an Orange  which completes the cycle of emotions as it builds into a cry of pain and anguish and tiredness, but take heart, Jazmine Mary, we do believe in the magic of you and your life journey and your free spirit and your sound and it’s not in vain and this makes me even more glad.

Jazmine Mary are touring in July and appearing on July 8th at the Hollywood Avondale, and I remember seeing Aldous Harding there a few years ago and it was like a spiritual moment, an epiphany, where everybody goes wow, what just happened, and I suspect that will be the feeling when Jazmine Mary complete their set.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Jazmine Mary

Jazmine Mary is a Noir Folk Artist based in New Zealand. Visceral and haunting. . their surreal rose-tinted sounds will allow you to be transported somewhere bold and watery.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jazmine Mary


Year: 2023
Type: Album
The Licking of a Tangerine
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Kissing Girls In The Temple
Year: 2018
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Roger Bowie

Going Global Review: Day 2 Showcase
03 Sep 2023 // by Roger Bowie
Saturday night at the Whammy trinity and we know the score. Artists in the round, although we are the ones moving underground, 20 minutes tops, immaculate precision.
Going Global Review: Day 1 Showcase
02 Sep 2023 // by Roger Bowie
The Going Global Music Summit brings together a host of international music industry folk and they talk about the industry. It’s organized by IMNZ (Independent Music NZ) and the NZ Music Commission.
Evan Silva - Album Review: Reihana Street
31 Aug 2023 // by Roger Bowie
Out of the blue, nearly 60 years in the making, lands Reihana Street in my inbox with an extraordinary back story.  Evan Silva was an altar boy gone wild, a Mission Bay mafiosi, and a singer/songwriter from the mid-sixties, starting at age 13 singing pop songs, before settling into soul and then selling that soul to the excesses of the 60’s in Kings Cross centred Sydney, sailing close to the edge, before epiphany struck, and overnight, life changed.
Gig Review: Don McGlashan @ Artworks Theatre, Waiheke Island - 26/08/2023
28 Aug 2023 // by Roger Bowie
Don McGlashan warmed up the Waiheke Artworks centre on Saturday night with a magical journey through the past 40 years of the art of The Don. The newly appointed (but not yet anointed) Hall of Famer was in modestly ebullient form as he thanked his Lucky Stars in his opening song.
Sonia & Nigel - Album Review: Sweet Paname
04 Aug 2023 // by Roger Bowie
In the middle of last month, just in time for Bastille Day, Sonia Wilson released the digital version of her paean to Paris, Sweet Paname. Sonia is Franco-American, born and educated in Paris, and now resides in Auckland after a peripatetic period of travel.
Jiahu Symbols - EP Review: For The Good Times
01 Aug 2023 // by Roger Bowie
The Jiahu Symbols are an early language form found on 16 distinct markings discovered in China in the late 1980's and estimated at 6000 years old. Not thought to be joined up writing, more a precursor.
You, Me, Everybody - Gig Review: You Me Everybody @ Tuning Fork, Auckland - 23/07/2023
25 Jul 2023 // by Roger Bowie
A nice cosy seating arrangement greeted us on Sunday night to contrast the winter gloom as the Tuning Fork opened its doors nice and early for a night of music from old friends. You, Me, Everybody are on tour to celebrate the fame and attention they have been receiving since having a song chosen for the Netflix series Sweet Tooth, and so now we are paying attention to them and they to us!!!
Like Angels - Album Review: Your Day Will Come
18 Jul 2023 // by Roger Bowie
Like Angels is the new solo project from Lyttelton based Robert McLean, and was also the title track of his previous release with his band How to Kill, back in 2010. Robert has taken time away from music but is now back home and has written and self-produced an 88 minute album of progressive apocalypse in Killswitch studios (now that seems appropriate) in Lyttelton.
View All Articles By Roger Bowie

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Doja Cat
    Kenya Grace
    Tate McRae
    Dave And Central Cee
    Olivia Rodrigo
    Taylor Swift
    Drake feat. SZA
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem