Jordana – ‘Something to Say’ EP review: grunge-laced almost-pop with cathartic wit

Hefty garage-rock sits nicely next to dream-pop on this fidgety, affecting listen from Wichita musician

Jordana’s debut album ‘Classical Notions of Happiness’ became a bit of a sleeper hit last year – lo-fi and minimal in sound, it was a record that tried to make sense of the intense grief, sudden loss, and disturbing impulses. Made following the death of a school friend who died by suicide, Jordana first started writing songs to make some sense of how she was feeling. When your entire world-view is derailed by a sudden and painful loss, how can you ever view happiness through the same hopeful lens again? That was one of the questions that ‘Classical Notions of Happiness’ grappled with.

Dark as it was, Jordana’s debut was also darkly funny. “My cat looks out the window,” she sang sweetly on ‘Intrusive Thoughts’ “Yeah he just sits and stares…. But then I think about throwing him through the air.” Jordana’s first release was evidence of her wry lyrical voice, recalling the likes of Soccer Mommy and Snail Mail. After signing to New York indie Grand Jury, Jordana re-issued her debut with a few newer songs tacked on at the end. ‘Sway’ ‘Signs’ and ‘Crunch’ showed a brawnier side to the Wichita-based musician – all of the same insight and wit, but with an added pop punch.

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And new EP ‘Something to Say’ builds further on these same foundations – opener ‘I’ll Take It Boring’ is a loner anthem reluctantly in attendance at a Halloween party. I am in a movie, and this scene is a catastrophe,” Jordana sings over ghoulish organs, invoking the feeling of being wrenched out of your own body and watching life happen to you. ‘Guaranteed’ also sits closer to the sonics of  ‘Classical Notions of Happiness’ – but as the EP progresses, Jordana shakes things up, and up.

As it progresses, the EP hops restlessly – and increasingly – between genres. The swaggering ‘Big’ is Jordana’s hefty garage-rock moment, hinging around the sort of filthy juddering guitar line that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Black Keys record or Arctic Monkeys’ ‘AM’. ‘Hitman’ and ‘Far Away from You’ ride on strange, fidgeting beats – they’re grunge-laced not-quite-pop songs. Elsewhere, dream-pop and slacker-rock also get a look in.

It doesn’t make for an especially cohesive listen, but you sense this isn’t Jordana’s goal here – rather ‘Something to Say’ demonstrates that she has plenty more up her sleeve, with an incisive, razor sharp voice to match it.

Details

  • Release date: July 31
  • Record label: Grand Jury
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