Melbourne’s jade imagine have now released their highly anticipated debut LP Basic Love on Milk! Records / Remote Control and Marathon Artists. A powerful exploration of the simple vs. the abstract, Basic Love is an existential ride that shimmers through its playful pop-tones and stripped back nature. Emotionally dictated by the wit and noir of Jade McInally (vocals, guitar, synths) and propelled by a band that seamlessly fuses together elements of synthwave and art-rock, this album is an impressive culmination of jade imagine’s signature style of bleak pop and contemplative new-wave.
Basic Love speaks of the internal and emotional monkey grip that exists within our generation – it’s all meant to feel good even if everything is sinking. Written half in the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne, this album encapsulates both the magic and the struggle of existing in a society that’s trapped in-between worlds; the romantic vs. the sci-fi.
From the opening track 'Gonna Do Nothing' – a Kraut-pop anthem that oscillates between LA glam and robotic surf-rock - the band works collaboratively to build a system of sonic dualisms that portray the conflicting moodboards of our modern day world. Basic Love is a calculated push and pull that tries to reconcile the experiences of living in a beach town that’s been suburbanised to the point of dullness, versus living in a city where your dreams are industrialised to the point of turning into capital.
This album is full of ponderings about nature as much as the cogs of capitalism. 'The Weekend' opens with the line “Coast to coast, what I’d like most is to live over there’” yet this assertive optimism quickly becomes a lament of the “9-to-5 mentality” and the depressing idea that weekends is the only time one has to be free. Supported by a repetitive and punchy instrumentation, the mechanical beat beneath the surf-pop vibe of the melody nicely adds to the subject matter of the song.
With a recording lineup composed of Liam “Snowy” Halliwell (The Ocean Party, Ciggie Witch) on bass, producer/guitarist Tim Harvey (Emma Louise, Real Feelings) and James Harvey (Teeth and Tongue) on drums, Basic Love has a truly dynamic essence. Each member plays a role which tightly considers each sun-filled texture against the bleak nature of Jade’s poetic observations.
The production behind Basic Love nicely adds to the dualistic feel of the album, recording each track live and using exclusively analog instruments to form an organic but artificial sensation. Produced and mixed by Tim with the jumping off point and guidance of Jade’s vision, each track lays gently over a bed of analogue warmth, alluding to past and future technologies and capturing the intimate essence of lo-fi recordings. It has a cohesive yet fluid sound achieved by an impeccable balance that prioritises the space and dynamics between instrumentation and vocals. It’s a neat and timeless production reminiscent of bands like Talking Heads, Broadcast, Blondie, Sonic Youth and Mazzy Star.
Following their debut EP What The Fuck Was I Thinking? (Milk Records, 2017), on Basic Love each member of jade imagine has consolidated their skills and role as part of a unit to create a powerful album in close consultation with each other. It’s an intimate collaboration where consideration and attention to detail create songs that speak of the personal as much as the political with much lyrical efficiency and technical poeticism.