Audio Jane – Naive

Album Rating: 8.5 – Drowsy euphoria.

Photo: Courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

Comprised of Sarah Pech (vocals & guitar), Mike Goldberg (lead guitar, bass, & vocals), Mark Coté (drums), Jesse Perkins (bass), and David Cicotte (guitars & vocals), Audio Jane is an ambient/rock band from Hartford Connecticut. Their widely acclaimed 2016 EP, A Full Bird’s Wing, have caught the attention of press and gained them comparisons to bands like Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins. Naive is their debut album and will be released on April 4.

Stepping into Audio Jane’s Naive is a drowsily euphoric experience where you are left emotionally drunk in a gauzy, ambient sonicsphere. From the pool of fuzzy and dreamy aesthetics, we experience a lyrical emergence of anxiety, hope, longing, melancholy, and love. Each song is an embodiment of life episodes that haunt us or embrace us while keeping us suspended in a blurry trance.

“You’re so high / You only love me when you’re down” breathes the frontgal Sarah Pech into your ears in the opener “Smile.” With laid-back strums, maracas, and smooth bass, “Smile” absorbs us into a quiet, meditative space where we are left with the longing of seeing a loved one smile – it’s a simple desire, but one that weighs heavily on us. Audio Jane takes off to a buoyant ambiance in the next track, “Naïve,” where we are invaded by the shuddering percussions and guitar strikes. The song is a statement of knowing that nothing in life is immutable – something we learn during rite-of-passage.

With booming guitars and drummings, “Atmosphere” captures the state of numbness we feel after finding out that our partners have found someone else. It starts off playful, but the pivotal moments of the track – when Pech chants “I feel no pain” – exude a monotonic vibe that radiates the emotional freeze we feel.

“High On You” has a fuzzier exuberance where Audio Jane delivers its chorus with a megaphone sound effect, which helps Pech amplify her sentiments without raising her voice. This effect makes the chorus feels like a second vocalist. The following track, “Ocean,” feels like an intermission and evokes a crossover between folk and country. It is by far the most unimpressive track as it follows the hackneyed formula of slow chords that drag you into an almost humdrum rhythm. It is not unbearable, but you forget that it’s playing in the background.

But Audio Jane quickly immerses you back with “Gone For Good” – a rock-tinged track with gauzy atmospherics where the chorus, again in megaphone effect, pounds through your ears and lands right down to your guts. While it emits anger towards the departure of someone, it is invigorating and hard not to indulge in its rock aesthetics. The following piece, “Starry Eyes,” leans more towards a shoegazy trajectory where we are suspended in a dreamier buzz. “You can see the signs are changing / You’ll never find your way home” croons Pech.

Perhaps the most rock-centric track is “LPS” – Audio Jane abandons their breathy melodies and launches into a zealous, rhythmic intensity of smashing percussions and dominating guitars. “Talk to me / Tell me what your emotions are / Love, passion, sex.” The lyrics, alongside the tone, have a staccato manner that is both refreshing and hooks you immediately. Audio Jane goes back to their flowy cadence in “1000 Miles” where the tambourine taps and the presence of male vocals give it a sweet touch of newness.

“We could have it all / So don’t sit quietly” sings Pech in “Slow” where she delivers a smooth boldness as the slinky bass and acoustic guitar glimmer in the background. It is the exiting track of Naive and feels like it was designed to sober you up from the ambient/fuzzy drunkenness with its simpler compositions. Naive sounds exactly how we shuffle through thoughts – we may start off with concrete intentions or ideas that get blurred as we further explore the abstract sentiments in our minds. As you go further down the 10-track record, Audio Jane often times triggers certain moods or thoughts with precision while in other moments lets you lose in the air.

Follow Audio Jane on Facebook. Get the album here.