Album Review: Jane in Space – Jane in Space

Jane In Space

It’s almost ironic that some of my favourite nostalgia-based trends in the current music are based in electronics. The 1980s neo-noir synthwave trend in particular has been a big personal draw for me, and though a lot of those artists play upon near-identical aesthetic templates, a new wave of electronic rock can only be seen as a good thing in my eyes.

NYC’s Jane in Space isn’t a synthwave band per se, but that recent trend was the initial reference point I heard when hearing their dark, pulsing instrumentation. You can hear the 1980s noir-chic on their song “Dehydrated” for instance, but the blend these guys are pulling in is a bit more complicated. The industrial rock of the 1990s (think Nine Inch Nails) informs the band’s edgy attitude, as Britpop (think Blur) does for their vocal melodies and inflections. In a year that’s somehow felt a bit slower musically than others, it is refreshing to hear a new band with this much spirit and potential.

Jane in Space’s major influences aren’t the point; it’s how they’re integrated so seamlessly here that really makes the album. While I’m sure many first-time listeners will recall Nine Inch Nails in more ways than one, distinctions between the two are easy to point out. Even if Jane in Space are working in fairly dark, moody electro territory, there’s never a point where they lose themselves to despair. Emotionally, the band are probably best defined by their range and dynamics. While Tom Vickers’ British-inflected vocals and punchy synths draw a constant across the album, Jane in Space are the sort of band that seem to like the idea of reinventing themselves again and again over the run of a single disc.

“Say Something” is dripping with a hazy afterhours vibe. “Dehydrated” (possibly my favourite here, tied with the melancholic “Dizzy Head”) is perfectly synthwavy and energetic. “Weightless” is tense and exotic. “Jane9″ is cloudy and ambient, and “Feel It Alive” is fun while being simultaneously claustrophobic. Jane in Space never let themselves get too tied to a single sound, so they keep exploring themselves until the album is done. Alas, the songwriting isn’t consistently bright — the album feels a little frontloaded qualitywise, and playthroughs usually have me longing for the pristine moments of “Dehydrated” or “Dizzy Head” somewhere into the second half. All the same, for a debut that attempts to showcase a different side of the band in virtually every song, it would be a shame not to give Jane in Space their due credit. This is one of the stronger debuts I’ve heard from a new band in 2016; here’s hoping it won’t be the last we hear of them.


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