Dora Jar – ‘Comfortably In Pain’ EP review: the year’s best EP so far

The New York-based artist's new collection fuses alt-rock and pop for a distinctly unique and thrilling listen

Discovering Dora Jar’s music is like taking a plunge into cold waters in the depths of winter: a tingle begins in the toes and soon ripples through the veins. Eventually, floating in these shocking depths is preferable to the mundanity that awaits back on shore. Every song on Jar’s new EP ‘Comfortably In Pain’ provides repeated rushes of brilliance, and is proof of not only a colourful vision, but creative who knows exactly how to realise it.

It’s likely what Billie Eilish saw in her music, too. The US pop star, wearing a disguise, snuck into Jar’s London tiny show late last year, had her mind blown, and subsequently invited the New York-based Jar to open up a handful of ongoing US arena tours, including a homecoming at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden. Billie’s fans are already latching onto this distinctly alternative emerging artist.

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‘Comfortably In Pain’ offers a welcome barrage of ideas and sounds, fleshed out in a way that her previous releases, 2021’s ‘Three Songs’ and ‘Digital Meadow’ EPs, struggled to be. Her five-track collection bursts at the seams with effective, endearing ideas. Lead single ‘Lagoon’, for example, is about “a lonely mermaid who craves intimacy”. Despite the “kinky” line that sparked the song (“I want to be medically examined by you”), she uses the vehicle to conjure vivid images of a crustacean heart that’s waiting to be “cracked open”, or a deserted “echo bouncin’ off the moon”.

There’s shades of St Vincent and Feist in ‘It’s Random’ as she ponders “where’s everyone going when they walk around?”; and ‘Scab Song’s breezy beach vibes are reminiscent of Lorde’s ‘Solar Power’, if only the latter had more bite. In another, more surreal world, the furious garage-pop of ‘Tiger Face’ would land a tasty sync on a Frosties advert.

The tour dates with Eilish would have encouraged Dora to consider more arena-ready choruses if she didn’t have them already. And while ‘Comfortably In Pain’ may not traverse uncharted waters – left-field, guitar-heavy pop is thriving right now – seldom is it done with such conviction and innovation. Won’t you come take the plunge with us? The water’s lovely, after all.

Details

Dora Jar

  • Release date: March 5
  • Record label: Original Sin
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