Indie artist combines high tech sound with bared soul.
Listening to Sarah Jaffes third album, its hard to correlate the artist who released Suburban Nature in 2010 as the same artist who has just released Dont Disconnect. In addition to a welcomed change in sound, Jaffe remains a talented singer-songwriter whose sonic palette is ever expanding.
Dont Disconnect is definitively and proudly a pop record. While the term is anachronistic and mostly pejorative because of the process, Jaffe makes the genre her own. Given the artists earlier folk releases and recent collaboration work by McKenzie Smith, this album obviously has a manicured quality. This is also meant in the nicest and most organic of terms. Unlike Rihanna or Beyoncé who cherry pick choice cuts from hit makers Dr. Luke or Max Martin, this album is a construction of Jaffes own. There may be beats and synthy bass lines but its through the funnel of Jaffes personal style leaving Dont Disconnect to be a valiant construction and not a cash-cow fabrication.
Produced by Midlakes McKenzie Smith, the drummer emphasizes sounds and textures that leave Jaffes soft vocals at the forefront. The emotional warmth contrasting against the scope and textures add a heightened depth of emotion that her acoustic work does not convey. Not trying to directly cop anyones style, Jaffe and Smith make beautiful underrated music thats more than refreshing.
Ride it out starts the record on point combining poppy choruses with slithering bass lines that are ripe for cardio workouts. Other songs like Leaving the Planet, Either way, and Some People Will Tell You, channel Talking Heads, Tegan and Sara, and LCD Soundsystem while Fatalist and Revelation refer back to the aforementioned earlier, more acoustic based work. Lover Girl and Slow Pour certainly are lulls where Jaffe spends too much time getting lost in the beat and soundscape. These songs reflect more the artist swinging and missing rather than the going-to-pop route and adding filler.
The title track serves as proper blending of the hits and misses to create a stark, lush and intense standout track
You wont find Dont Disconnect on shelves or in commercials hawking cars. Dig deep in iTunes and Amazon for one of the years best albums.