What does Jordan Reyne sound like?
The apocalypse coming towards you like a train revving up its engines. Steampunk Celtic folk anyone?
The review of Jordan Reyne – Chapter Zero
It is always a sad moment when a personal favourite musician says aren’t likely to release more music. Jordan Reyne had said her previous album “Bardo” would probably be her last. “Chapter Zero” is a delightful return after a long pandemic delayed production. The rustic drone-doom-folk trip threat has returned with another excellent collection.
There are usually three things that you’ll find in a quintessential Jordan Reyne track.
Firstly, we have acoustic or electric guitars that fixate on a straightforward riff or chord. Whilst some songs like the beautiful closer “Borderlands” have an actual riff, often the power comes through repetition or aggression of playing. The track “Mother Tongue” has a rustic jews harp twang to its rhythmic strum that gets more twangy and bombastic as the song progresses. Elsewhere on “Just Press Play” the electric guitars jangle harder. Jordan’s guitar playing often reminds me of drone music where you get something from the numbness of it, but here the numbness has body and depth.
Secondly, a Jordan Reyne track often has a rustic Western percussive drum loop. The reason I used the train analogy earlier is that usually Reyne’s percussion starts out with a few kick drums and wooden blocks and then incomes a steam train pulsation of other drums. It’s like the songs themselves are being wound up like a cam toy and then letting themselves fizzle out into a huge display. Add in some synths that give a dissonance like opener “The Weavers”, the waltzing drums of “How This Will End (Zemsta)” or the fire dance of “Into the Deep” and you have a potent mix.
Thirdly, Jordan Reyne’s vocals will often reach fever pitch and rage against the machine. Jordan’s vocals have always been superb. Jordan uses them as a backing synth and a haunted faerie choir in “Beyond the Wall” to create a distant mystical quality over the drone organs like a Celtic warrior. Elsewhere on the extremely frantic and impassioned “A Man and His Island”, Reyne ascends up the scales into a frenzied roar, flexing her range and power. When you have someone absolutely raging vocally over those increasingly rhythmic and chaotic guitars and drums, the album really fuels the listener in a way most music doesn’t.
“Chapter Zero” is a delight from start to end as it showcases these three traits perfectly. Jordan’s ability to be both melodic and drone-esque always catches me off guard and her vocal harmony layers are some of the best she’s ever produced. If you need a big hook to pull you in, Jordan Reyne’s music might not be your immediate go to. If you want that makes you feel catharsis and chaos in equal measure – this is a must have album.
Recommended track: A Man and His Island
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