From the artwork for second EP “XIII” from east-coast based band The Jagged Violet, one could be forgiven for thinking that the sound would be far heavier than it is; a front cover, almost gothic in theme and a certain ‘outer-space’ element, it’s big on imagery before you’ve even pressed play.

The quartet showcase versatility on the release clocking in at over 17 minutes; the four tracks all display a different spin on what is assumed were Nicola Madill’s songs originally, worked into full band arrangements.

It has a definite singer-songwriter vibe throughout; second track “Esmerelda” includes hints of Laura Marling and no doubt contains the strongest vocal performance of the four tracks. Switching from a percussion laced ballad to a more uptempo folky number, completing full circle back to the original verse it seems to be without a chorus, but to no detriment to the track. Followed up by the blues-riffed lament of the fed up working woman “Hurry Up” offers the best chorus of the release and is kept at perfect pop song length.

The band are comprised of aforementioned singer/guitarist Nicolla Madill, Scotty Cargill on guitar, Dale Easson of The Boston Tea Party on bass and drummer/producer Graeme Watt. The arrangements sound as though the whole band contribute and draw on their own personal influences.

The EP is bookended by “Mother” and “God’s Mysteries”, the former begins all washed cymbals before Madill swoons emotionally ‘Mother I feel him by my side and I think we’ll make it through‘. The latter is the rockiest of the lot and contains similar religious/family themes. All four members’ distinct marks on the tracks proves too many cooks do not spoil the broth and never judge a (CD) by its cover.

Related posts: