Self released – Release date: 26 February 2016
You know you’re onto a winner when the wife shouts from downstairs “What’s that you’re listening to? Sounds good”
And she’s right – this is good. Very good.
Jade Vine are a London-based four-piece originally formed in 2006 by brothers Constantine (guitar/vox) and Marios (guitar/vox) Magdalinos – whose music, whilst definitely having rock at its heart, is infused with a progressive/art rock twist that mixes things up to thrilling effect.
Much of this twist is likely down to one Danny Cavanagh, charismatic frontman and inspiration for Liverpool prog-rock changelings Anathema.
As well as co-producing the band’s first album ‘Nothing Can Hide From Light’ (which garnered four stars in my 2013 review) he also collaborated, generally supervised and mentored them through the experience – so much so that much of their first album sounded like an Anathema offshoot.
No bad thing, and the Cavanagh influence can still be heard on ‘Mind Of A Man’ – but things have moved on.
Jade Vine have grasped the nettle and have started to forge their own way of doing things – the songwriting has improved, the musicianship also and the whole thing sounds much more cohesive; much more ‘them’.
From the pounding bass intro, complicated guitar figure and classic progressive moodswings of opener ‘Can’t See Why’ it is obvious, once more, that Jade Vine have put the song at the centre of things – no twiddly noodling, no grandstanding, no interminable solos – just good, honest songsmithery beautifully played.
This song-based ethic continues on ‘Corpus Callosum’ where a chiming guitar intro (they are very keen on the chorus pedal – Steve Rothery fans, take note), a great hooky chorus interspersed with skeletal guitar passages, which, combined with vocals absolutely made for the genre push the track into ‘standout’ territory.
That said, there are highlights everywhere – the build up of the title track, the power-chord intro and counter harmonies of ‘Memory Strong’, the guitar wig-out on the almost instrumental ‘F.E.A.R.’ and the neat guitar/piano interplay on ‘Asy (Now Or Never)’.
All this great stuff coalesces on album closer ‘Wrong’ – light/shade, quiet/loud, the anthemic and the skeletal all topped off with a heartfelt chorus. Brilliant.
Having recently toured the UK along with support slots for Anathema, Antimatter and Curved Air, things seem to be on an deserved upward trajectory for Jade Vine – a course that can only be enhanced by this exceptional album.
Review by Alan Jones
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