For You: Jaala - Hard Hold

For You: Jaala - Hard Hold

Jaala - Hard Hold Album Cover

Dear Sarah,

I think twice I sent you “Double Dutch” in the monthly playlists I would construct. Actually, I think it was “Junior Spirit”, which actually came out as a single the year after Hard Hold came out. But the core of each track is the same: this tension and release dance of jerking motions and smooth relaxations. The single was mixed to focus on Jaala’s vocals, but the album tends to be more egalitarian in representing the qualities of the band itself.

The percussion, neo-soul or whatever, makes each track as unpredictable as the last. And yeah, I don’t think you actually ever liked Hiatus Kaiyote after all the times I played it in Seattle, but I think Jaala strikes at the same experimental-popism, but in a much more raw form. (I’ll have to recommend to you Xenia Rubinos soon enough. I probably already added that to a playlist of yours sometime.)

But listening to this album, do you feel the “nimbleness”, the flexibility where the song is an amalgamation of these small little tempo changes and flourishes that would just make that dancing body scramble to adapt to whatever changes are deemed welcome or necessary by the band? It’s a controlled chaos that never seems to take a misstep. It’s just really cool.

Also, Jaala’s voice: this weird mix of baby talk and Australianisms that stand on a tight wire between punk and 50s crooning. Her (zey?) voice gives 80% of the personality to the tracks, but I’d say the technicalities without the voice would already make the album a winner. There is a proud creepiness to Jaala, and I hope that uncomfortability settles into you just as it did me.

Love, Aleks.

On Apple Music