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Melbourne, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Melbourne, Australia | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Pitchfork - 'Hard Hold' review"

The Melbourne band Jaala has a rushing, halting feel to their debut album, reflecting the complex rhythms of life. When the band's guitarist, singer, and songwriter Cosima Jaala screams, it's not with rage, but with rollercoaster joy.

e debut album by Melbourne four-piece Jaala constantly shifts between time signatures, but it's not a virtuoso showcase. The band's guitarist, singer, and songwriter Cosima Jaala has said that she would struggle to identify any tempo—with the exception of 4/4, which, in her words, can "go fuck a dead donkey." Instead, the record's rushing, halting feel is her attempt to reflect life's complex rhythms. It's complemented by an unusual but brilliant pop palette that splutters with the chaotic energy of a Jackson Pollock.

The interplay between guitarists Jaala and Nic Lam, bassist Loretta Wilde, and drummer Maria Moles recalls Thrill Jockey's '90s Chicago set, splashy as Tortoise and richly mellow as the Sea and Cake. "Lowlands" ambles around a crooked bass line; "Order" has a splayed ska-punk lilt that evokes Clash ballads. Jaala sings with a jazzy, muscular intonation and a chalky squeak in her throat that recalls a punkier Amy Winehouse or Jeff Buckley, and also owes a debt to the skittish incantations of Life Without Buildings' Sue Tompkins. When she screams, as she often does, it's not with rage, but roller coaster joy. Considering how rampant the pace is—and Jaala's predilection for "brain-melting shit"—Hard Hold is often remarkably soothing, yet always surprising.

Jaala's lyrics are just as playful as her delivery, full of twists and wonderful imagery. They often deal with the ties that bind humans—love, obsession, violence—and she's just as interested in stretching the bonds of language. On "Hard Hold", she wrings the endless potential of a single syllable. "It's hard, a heart to a heart/ Too hard to unfold this hold with you," she sings, as if massaging out her own heartbreak, working agility back into her ticker's knotted muscle. "If sharing is a bowl of soup, then you drunk it dry," she tells her ex before she proclaims her newly discovered strength, a moment heralded by the song's buoyant lope bursting into a frenzied thrash.

Swaying between downbeat and more anxious passages, "Salt Shaker" captures Jaala's relief and guilt at leaving her humdrum seaside hometown. She licks salt off her hand to remind herself of the waves, and observes: "Those happy-holy-heinous houses/ They spread out and out for mileses." She's a distinct voice, and a versatile one, too: "Ticket" is a serrated tirade against an ex who used her, full of ugly screams and jagged riffs. But then comes closer "Hymn", a tender devotional where the band's edges soften to glimmer like sea ripples reflected on a cave wall.

Hard Hold is a clever record that rarely foregrounds that fact—perhaps because it was recorded in a week, it hangs onto a scampering, impromptu quality that only adds to its appeal. While they sound nothing alike, Jaala's debut has a similar sense of fluid, approachable experimentation to a record like Bitte Orca: the kind of bright weirdness that seems to illuminate a whole new set of colors. - Pitchfork / Laura Snapes

"Rolling Stone Australia - 'Hard Hold' review"

Recorded in a seven-day blitz with Paul Bender of Hiatus Kaiyote, Hard Hold is about as frenetic, playful and delightfully scattered as you would expect from such a condensed creation. That shouldn't be mistaken for thinness though, because there's a lot of ideas to unpack here. There's the scruffy, low slung blues of "Lowlands", the rocky crunch of "Salt Shaker", the spin-out indie jazz of opener "Hard Hold", the latent gorgeousness in closer "Hymn". Singer Cosima Jaala's vocals remain endlessly arresting, warping and snaking in and around the rhythms. Ideas shoot off in all directions, but Hard Hold manages to remain focused; a fascinating display of potential. - - Rolling Stone Australia / Jules Lefevre

"News.com.au - 'Hard Hold' review"

Something very cool is happening with Wondercore Island at the moment. The label is sprinkling magical pixie dust on the careers of Hiatus Kaiyote, Sampa The Great and Jaala. The Melbourne quartet’s sound is a forever inverting, always transmogrifying free-jazz, lo-fi rock trip that won’t be for everybody. The proverb goes “If you don’t want to be criticised, don’t do anything new.” Jaala (also Mangelwurzel’s lead singer) takes a Beetlebum chak-chak start then drop-knees into a Hard Hold, a song that would fit a Leos Carax film, a superb French flight of fancy. Salt Shaker wakes up from a Siamese Dream and War Song shakes a fist at The Man like Bad Brains. Be sure to remember these punks, punk. - news.com.au / Mikey Cahill


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy