Flowers For Jayne's guitars are in bloom
Dangerous Woman – Flowers For Jayne (self released)
Guitars are unfashionable, ergo Sydney’s Flowers For Jayne will never be musical flavour of the month with contemporary tastemakers or scenesters. And that’s fine. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not one of those people anyway. You think R&B is Stax or Motown 45s and hip hop is nothing more than softcore aural wallpaper.
Drums, bass and guitar (turned up loud) with a voice somewhere in the middle is a timeless configuration. Flowers For Jayne is a classic “power trio” - both in the heavy sense of the term and for having a keen sense of dynamics.
The band is the vehicle for vocalist-guitarist Jayne Murphy, former Lime Spiders member and woman about Sydney town, and she’s joined by ace rhythm section Jess Ciampa (drums in Bernie Hayes Quartet, The Nature Strip, Dog Trumpet, Jeff Duff Band, Smelly Tongues and others) and Phil Hall(Sardine v, Dropbears, The 68 Comeback, Lime Spiders, Flaming Hands, Matt Finish, Roddy Ray'Da & The Surfin' Caesars).
“Dangerous Woman” is the debut album and it’s Murphy’s accumulated songs written over 25 years set to hard rock and pop templates.
In case you hadn’t guessed, FFJ's primarily about the guitars. Murphy has a warm and crunchy tone that echoes Johnny Thunders at times, and she isn’t afraid to bring as much multi-tracking to the recording party as a song needs. Hall provides the sinewy bass-lines and Ciampa sits in the pocket with his foot on the accelerator for most of the journey, providing feel and power.
“New Year Sun” is a cracking opener, an optimistic fuzzy pop rocker. “Dangerous Woman” was the video single and the best track of the 11 here, a hooky rock song lathered in layered guitar. “Still With You” echoes Crazy Horse without the bum notes.
“Helpless” provides light and vulnerability and is a nuanced ballad that Jayne delivers with a quavering vocal that’s just right for the song. There’s more than a passing resemblance to Bryan Ferry when he was in pre-bland-out mode with Roxy Music (cock an ear to “Still With You” for more proof) and the late Peter Shelley (“I Want You”).
“On My Mind” is a disjointed but raunchy pop song that recalls the latter-day Spiders, while the jagged lead-break in “Personality” gives an edge to the tune’s chug. “Insomnia” is the heavyweight contender of the album and displays a a neat shift away from 4/4 time.
ARIA-winning producer Anton Hagop recorded the guitars and mixed the album, with the balance captured by Geoff Lee at Zen. It sounds damn good.