Something for the weekend: The Jezabels

Australia's exponents of uplifting pop-rock, The Jezabels, tell us about the tracks that made them.
© Josh Shinner
By Chris Parkin

Sydney isn't exactly synonymous with overcast murk but should the local authorities ever need the city's clear-blue skies restored they can call on the cloud-busting songs of widescreen rockers The Jezabels.

The four-piece, which formed in 2007, toured with Depeche Mode, Pixies and Imagine Dragons off the back of their 2012 debut album Prisoner and are about to unleash their brand-new album The Brink (out February 18). Taking a breather between performances on the touring Laneway Festival – and before they head off around the world – we asked singer Hayley Mary to tell us about the tracks that made her.

The first piece of music to stop me in my tracks was…

Joey by Concrete Blonde. I can't say I literally stopped, as I was in the back of the car in my booster seat on a road trip to the Blue Mountains with mum and dad. It must have been about 1991, so I was four, and that song came on the radio. I loved how much emotion was in her voice for this guy Joey, and that ’80s quarter-note guitar and reverb-y snare were enhanced by the fact we were driving along the highway. At the time, I didn't ask why I got a magic feeling from the music, I just got it.

"Twenty years later I met a photographer who’d met the likes of The Stones and Michael Jackson and who knew Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde. He had all these amazing stories, but all I was interested in was whether he knew Joey. Was he real? Was he dead? Had he recovered? He believed that Joey was, in all likelihood, still 'passed out on the floor'. I guess the song didn't save him after all.”

The track I’d play to shock my parents is…

“Nothing could ever shock my parents. I’m far more conservative than them as a reaction to their incredibly liberal upbringing. There's nothing I could say, do or show them that would ever appear original or boundary pushing, though my dad finds Get Lucky by Daft Punk abhorrent.”

My ultimate Friday night anthem is…

"Born Slippy by Underworld. It's dirty yet ephemeral, which is how Friday nights should be.”

My comedown classic is…

“I'm not normally one for coming down or really for getting high enough to come down, but once, when I’d just finished high school and I'd broken up with my boyfriend that day, I went to a festival and got myself ‘elated’. Then, as I was being driven home in a friend’s car, Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O'Connor came on his tape player and I felt what it was to come down. The levels dropped in my mind and I began rocking back and forth in the foetal position howling myself into adulthood.”

The track I love to hate is…

Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson. It's every guy’s wet dream, and I hate it for playing into that, but if I'd written it I'd be stoked, because it's a great song.”

The track most likely to make me cry is…

Valley Of Strathmore by Silly Wizard. It's a Celtic folk song I listened to as a child. The lyrics go: 'If time was a thing man could buy, all the money that I have in store, I would give for one day by your side, in the valley of Strathmore'. Our battle with time is one of the few lyrical themes that seems to become more relevant, rather than less, as we move through the ages.”

Stream The Jezabels' new track, All I Need, here.

Check out The Jezabels' world tour dates.

Check out who's playing the RBMA and Future Classics stage at Laneway.

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