Jaggery explores beauty, terror with ‘Crux’
I do not know what to say,” whispers vocalist Mali Sastri over a gorgeous roll of piano notes, at the very end of the Boston-based band Jaggery’s new album, “Crux.” And then, the piano cuts out suddenly, and she whispers, “I do not know what to be silent about.” It’s a sinister ending to an album that delves fearlessly into the abyss and is at turns bone-chilling and staggeringly beautiful.
Indeed, listening to “Crux” brings to mind a quote from author Donna Tartt, from her novel, “The Secret History,” “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.” As a songwriter, Sastri uses that polarity to great effect: The album’s first song, “War Cry,” begins with an unearthly banshee’s wail that’s both hypnotic and deeply unnerving. Near the song’s end, Rachel Jayson’s viola comes to the fore, and the sound is rich and beautiful, but while it is not as terrifying as the opening vocals, there’s still an edge to it, a distinct sense that this is the sort of beauty that can cut you. (more…)
Music Enraptured with High-Art: Jaggery’s Crux Weaves Dark Beauty
“WAR CRY” BY JAGGERY FROM CRUX:
Artistic Assault of the Senses
1. Jaggery works deep in aesthetic attributes, morphing and evolving the human form with transcending classical-gone-alternative-rock styles. “War Cry” is a sensory paradise of nightmare-scape meets primal beauty. Often referred to as dark-avant-pop, Jaggery storms through genre, ignoring mainstream hype to pull instead on one’s inner beast and expose pure, demented, human nature.
2. “’War Cry’ opens Crux with a curdling wail, given almost as a test in the listener’s fortitude. The tone is aggressive yet lavish, a clenched fist despite the song’s anti-violence sentiment.” (more…)
Jaggery Takes Us to the Crux of the Matter
by Julie Stoller
It’s a last-gasp attempt to be timely, to be sure, but I feel I must mark the occasion. A favorite Boston band — no, let’s call them a musical art ensemble — by the name of Jaggery is officially releasing a new album today. It’s called Crux. This evening, they’ll be hosting their record release party at ONCE Ballroom at Cuisine en Locale, with what will most certainly be a stunning performance by this wonderful group of musicians. Because, truth be told, I have yet to see a performance by them that isn’t stunning. And that includes the one at the dearly departed Church, which was done in darkness with people shining their smartphones onto the stage when the club suddenly lost power.
I’m listening to Crux as I write this. Beginning with Singer Mali’s ‘War Cry,’ like an eagle warning the planet of imminent catastrophe, the album embarks on a mysterious journey through jungles and tropical rain forests, deserts and savannas, open tundra and grasslands. Such is the breadth and depth of these musical passages, like unique, self-contained acts of a life-long, epic musical. I’m quite used to Mali’s playful, threatening, taunting and soaring vocals being jaw-dropping, but she has reached new heights (and depths) here. It’s the voice of a million colors. (more…)
Boston-based art-rock collective Jaggery make exquisite, lush music that challenges the ear as much as it captivates it. The storytelling, reflection, and contemplation are as audacious as the aesthetic that bolsters them.
Jaggery’s impending album, Crux, quickly approaches this week. It features unorthodox instrumentation, bold arrangements, and uncomforting lyrics, combining for an elevated experience that is still pleasurably within grasp. The unsettling opening wail of “War Cry” immediately signals a unique trip down an exigent path less traveled. “Garden” is a rich exploration of self and what it means to be human. The avant-jazz of “Raskolnikov,” Jaggery’s reimagining of the seminal novel Crime & Punishment, is intentionally unnerving with a beautiful, unresolved tension that evolves up until its curt ending.
Crux is not to be taken lightly, and thanks to its undeniable, anomalous appeal, it’s nearly impossible not to engage. Stream the album in its entirety below.
Jaggery is a Boston-based art-rock collective featuring Mali Sastri (vocals, keys), Tony Leva (bass), Daniel Schubmehl (percussion), Dylan Jack (percussion), Rachel Jayson (viola), and Petaluma Vale (harp, backing vocals). They combine their varied sensibilities and predilections to make a lush, versatile sound that melds chamber rock and pop, darkwave, jazz, and classical elements. Each sonic excursion is grand and sweeping, unrelenting on the ears, but pleasant in the demand of engagement. The lyrics provide no reprieve either, tussling with subjects of inner conflict, higher purpose, and even incorporating classic literature for vivid storytelling. They’re named after an unrefined sugar found in Asia and Africa, and it suits them well as their sound enticing, but intentionally uneasy to to digest.
I first heard some of Jaggery’s music two or three years ago. Their genre defying sound never fails to impress me. They experiment, test boundaries, and yet never come across as indulgent. ‘Garden’ is but a small taste of what to expect on the album. It’s music as art, or possibly art as music!