Evy Jane - Breaking

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  • The first time I saw Evy Jane perform was at New Forms Festival in 2011. I didn't really know her music, but I was instantly taken by the performance. At that point, they were a duo—Jane and Jeremiah Klein—and there was something haunting about their music. They made James Blake-style witching hour music, with post-dubstep beats and smoky vocals. They signed to Ninja Tune, but only one hazy EP came of it. Now, the project returns with Breaking, an album of songs written around the time of that signing. It also bears the news that Evy Jane is now a solo project. Breaking is wrought with complex, layered emotions, and Jane's voice is front and centre, channeling her stage presence. It feels like confessional quiet storm more than dance music. Now based in New York, Jane calls Breaking her "Vancouver album." The vibe is grey and occasionally stormy, but it's not an entirely dark record. The smoldering torch song "Hedron" offers shelter from the storm, while "Seawater Salt" showcases tighter songwriting, with a chorus that rises and falls at all the right points. The bending strings on "Lights" are like a flash of lightning across the night sky, but when they accompany Jane's complaints that a love affair is starting to "get old" (one of the album's most brutal choruses), they have a heart-rending effect. Breaking is at its best when it's pared down. The drunken waltz of "Give Me Love" features a wounded turn from Jane, which, along with "Seawater Salt," shows a pop savvy that has taken years to emerge. There's an interlude in the middle of Breaking that stands over the whole record. "Dolphin Freestyle" is a miniature hymn, built on improvised percussion, finger snaps and Jane's looped coos. The heartbreaking lyrics are rattled off like an improvised R&B song. It could be about a breakup, or about the dissolution of an artistic partnership ("You find yourself to be much more important than the way I write"), but Jane's upbeat, hooky melody nonetheless sounds bittersweet. It carries almost no trace of Breaking's slate-grey electronics and has more in common with a track like Mood Hut's "Always On." By the time Breaking gets to the simple, ringing guitar tone of its beautiful closer, "Under Your Weather," the clouds have cleared and things feel different, even hopeful. It points to a brighter future, which makes the album's exquisite melancholy all the more stunning. Sometimes you have to go through the worst to get to the best.
  • Tracklist
      01. Breaking 02. Give Me Love 03. Any Time 04. Lover's Soul 05. Lights 06. Dolphin Freestyle 07. The Half You Hide 08. Seawater Salt 09. Hedron 10. Under Your Weather