‘Cold Memory’ is soaked in Australian sunshine, flavoured with relatable songwriting and tastes sonically serene. The new album from Melbourne trio Jade Imagine follows on from their 2019 debut, ‘Basic Love’, and is imbued with notions of connection. Listening to this is like a comfort blanket; soothing at first, then warming with its positive affirmations that make for a top antidote to doom and gloom. The album’s potential to push boundaries is only partially realised, but a lazy afternoon soundtracked by ‘Cold Memory’ invites you to sink further into your sofa and bask in sonic joy.
Jade Imagine’s experience is far stretching. Front-person and key songwriter Jade McInally cut her teeth in Australia’s indie scene for more than a decade before founding Jade Imagine. Their first endearing singles ‘Stay Awake’ and ‘Walkin’ Around’ bop with a lo-fi feel à la Kurt Vile stoner psychedelia. Subsequent touring opportunities with the likes of Alvvays and Angel Olsen soon followed with their snappy debut album increasing their forward strides. Now, Jade Imagine return to their wavy roots with a mellow, free-flowing sophomore body of work.
However, one exception to its formula is the album’s stand out title track. The juxtapositions between its ominous verses with brooding drums and eerie vocal harmonies compared to its lush, expansive verses are superb. They fuse together brilliantly, and the only shame is that there aren’t more examples of this peppered throughout the album, consequently giving everything else a tad of a samey feel.
Nonetheless, the production quality of the album is both airy and sophisticated in equal measure. Delays on guitars and vocals pair alongside woozy synths to paint hypnagogic soundscapes. ‘Instinct That I Wanna Know’ offers a homage to ESP with a dance fuelled diversion from predominant guitars while ‘Grow Taller’, featuring Johnny Marr’s son Nile on collaboration duties, sees luminescent synths and vocal harmonies float around an acoustic guitar core.
Simplicity was the ethos employed by McInally when it came to writing the lyrics for ‘Cold Memory’. Apparently running with the core theme of “warm hugs”, you can picture the smile behind the recording booth on many moments across the album. Connections to a sense of self shine bright on the likes of ‘Home’. ‘Get Light’ offers the album’s best lyrical mantra whilst typifying its lyrical ethos of simplicity in the process: “When it’s a heavy time, you got to get light somehow.” Individuality also pokes through with McInally’s often irregular rhyming patterns, keeping a refined edge to the music.
‘Cold Memory’ continues Jade Imagine’s run of successful musical form, showcasing almost all the required ingredients for a career-defining third album come its arrival – which should be duly anticipated.
Words: Jamie Wilde