Album Review: Jade Bird – Jade Bird

jade birdJade Bird – Jade Bird

Americana | Indie Rock | Folk

70%

If I had to describe Jade as an artist in just one word, based on the impression offered by her debut album, it would be “versatile”. In just over half an hour she exhibits the kind of range that some artists take half a lifetime to master. From the classic country vibes of ‘Ruins’, to the stark piano balladry of ’17’, to the fiery blues rock of album highlight ‘Uh Huh’, she has the uncanny ability to morph to fit whatever genre takes her fancy. What’s more impressive is how much she invests herself in the music. Whether she’s channelling the fierce, untameable spirit of Janis Joplin, or a more quiet and inward-looking intensity, she delivers each track with such fervour and conviction that you can’t help but root for her.

The album as a whole is impressively concise and cohesive, especially given its diversity, and proves to be greater than the sum of its parts. So much so in fact that when you break it down you find the songwriting sadly lacking in places. Besides a couple of potent hooks here and there, most tracks don’t do enough to make a lasting impression on their own. The end result is a record that is thoroughly enjoyable, but somewhat forgettable. The silver lining is that songwriting is an art that is mastered by time and patience. It’s exceedingly rare that an artist’s early attempts at songwriting prove to be their best work, generally it is a craft honed over many years, learning from successes and failures alike. Anyone can write good songs given the chance and plenty of perseverance, but what Jade showcases here on her debut is something that can’t be taught. That chameleonic command of genre, that irrepressible passion and unshakeable confidence, that’s the part that matters. The rest can wait awhile longer.

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