Au.Ra 'Jane's Lament'

Usually when people describe music as ‘transporting them to another place’ it’s because the song evokes some kind of memory or feeling for them about another time. Whilst it’s impossible for a piece of music to literally take you somewhere else, it’s extremely common to experience these flashbacks, nostalgia and made up scenarios in your head, or to revel in the memories of that time you set off on a road trip or the song that was played at your graduation. Jane’s Lament from Au.Ra however, took me on an auditory journey that I’m not quite sure how I feel about.

Not without it’s slight bumps, Sydney duo Au.Ra’s debut album Jane’s Lament shines with stellar production and carefully tailored songwriting.

Sydney duo Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandles, also known as Au.Ra, are the masters of beautiful, fuzzy dream-pop. After spending the past two years in both Sydney and London, the team have finalised their anticipated nine track debut album Jane’s Lament. Ranging from classic shoegaze pop to experimental otherworldly delights, this is one release you would be crazy to miss.

Morning is a fitting choice to open the LP; it’s bright with a strong percussion line and features touches of distortion seeping through your window like the morning sunlight. The second half of the song is where the melody really picks up, nicely complimented by the hazy vocals Au.Ra are known for. This transitions into Sun and Pyramid, two teaser tracks that were unofficially released in anticipation of Jane’s Lament. These songs are all key models of quality dream-pop music, blending waves of shimmering reverb, backed up by relaxed melodies, with little nuances of sound scattered throughout.

Juki is an instrumental interlude that sounds like a sophisticated version of those space effects commonly found on household keyboards. It’s short – only a minute in length – but adds another dimension to the spaced-out vibes Jane’s Lament has. From here the album shifts into a slightly more upbeat sound and wanders down an experimental path. Spare The Thought features crooning vocals against a background of tinny drums and plenty of echoing reverb. From this point on tones become more and more distorted and each layer builds up to create a space-like effect. The songs never lose momentum, finishing with a highly textured wall of sound.

Jane’s Lament ends with a short experimental piece that sums up the whole out of body experience in which the album is characterised by. In other words, it’s really weird. Width is a mash of floating synths and sound clips in varying pitches layered with an incoherent woman’s voice. Lying somewhere between a bad hallucinogenic trip and a retro thriller/horror movie soundtrack, it’s a jarring fit compared to the rest of this hazy, dreamy compilation. Jane’s Lament is a real mixed bag of tracks. Individually, each song is well crafted and textured, showing Au.Ra’s strong technical production skills. Although the conclusion of the LP is accompanied by question marks, there is no doubt this is a solid body of music. Au.Ra have created a release that is interesting, thought-provoking and entertaining, whilst being commercial enough to appeal to a range of people.

The debut album Jane’s Lament will be available from March 3 on CD, digital and vinyl via Felte and bandcamp.

HappyDebbie CarrComment