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In The Wild Zara Hedderman , June 3rd, 2022 08:42

The debut from the former Weaves singer provides instant gratification for Zara Hedderman

On the cover of the debut solo release from Jasmyn entitled, In The Wild, the Canadian-artist stands before a wall checkered with bold shades of coral and turquoise. A corner of bright white draws the eye. Complementing those luminous squares are muted tones of terracotta and sage green. Balance is established. Visually striking and inviting, it’s a perfect reflection of what’s contained within these eleven equally dynamic songs. The instrumentation bears all the vibrancy of those shocking tones whilst being grounded by Jasmyn’s warm performance and relatable lyrical themes.

With this release Jasmyn welcomes a new era in her career, leaving behind her former Toronto-based indie-pop outfit Weaves. “It’s the beginning of a new version of myself,” she prefaced in the anticipation of unleashing In The Wild to fans of her work with her former band. This rebirth is all over the lyrics. “Open up your eyes / Look for something” she sings atop a thumping beat dancing with a fuzzy synth line, “Start anew like blank paper.” A similar enthusiasm for new beginnings is ingrained, too, on ‘Happy Tarot’: “We said futures are for guessing what is next.” And, more often than not, Jasmyn keeps audiences guessing with this dexterous offering. The buoyancy of the arrangements are unrelentingly upbeat, but she does well to change-up the tempo with introspective melancholy (‘Galaxy’) and Eastern influence (‘Killer Instinct’) to keep the listener engaged and eagerly awaiting the next surprise.

Collaborating with John Congleton, one of the most sought after producers of the last decade implementing his signature sound on releases by St Vincent (notably her self-titled LP from 2014, before Jack Antonoff came along) and Sharon Van Etten (Remind Me Tomorrow), amongst many, many others. I single those two examples from his vast portfolio because, tonally, In The Wild fits perfectly alongside those releases and will undoubtedly be embraced by fans of those works.

From the offset, this is an easy and enjoyable LP to listen to. Often reminiscent of the infectious and unbridled art-pop arrangements of the outlandish Of Montreal (‘Crystal Ball’, ‘Blank Page’) combined with some of the melodic pop-punk and synth flourishes of Mitski’s Puberty 2 and Be The Cowboy on the titular track (one which sweetly shares a story of two outsiders coming together) and ‘Green Nature’, which brilliantly announces the album with a glorious harpsichord solo that immediately lends a lushness to Jasmyn’s contemporary slant on indie-pop. There are sometimes moments where some of the textures and melodic choices are reminiscent to the day-glo and glittery speckled music of the mid-2000s, which no doubt helps insert the listener into the songs immediately.

In The Wild is instantly gratifying. There’s a familiarity woven into the production which brings accessibility to Jasmyn. It’s her distinct vocal style (somewhere between Kimya Dawson and Karen O) and approachability that distinguishes this record, building a solid foundation for her solo career.