Jordana fights internal melancholy with radiant indie pop on ‘Face the Wall’
Shimmery indie pop bliss abounds on Jordana’s third album, “Face the Wall.” Following up her 2021 collaborative EP with TV Girl, “Summer’s Over,” this project once again showcases Jordana’s ability to write songs that leave great impacts in relatively short runtimes.
The opening track “Pressure Point” kicks off the album with a delicate haze that quickly makes way for an energetic drum beat and pitched, chopped-up vocals. Right away, listeners can tell special care was put into “Face the Wall’s” production. Everything sounds perfectly balanced, and this attention to detail remains consistent throughout much of the album.
The songs on “Face the Wall” are colorful, vibrant and dynamic. If the first song somehow failed to make you move, by the end of the second track, you will certainly get up out of your seat. “Get Up’s” funky bassline and earworm, four-word chorus create a combination that is perfect for dancing, or perhaps just finding the motivation to get out of bed in the morning.
“Face the Wall’s” lyrics tell stories many of us have experienced. Maybe you tend to doubt yourself, care a lot about what everyone else thinks of you or are just having an excruciating series of bad days. Jordana has been through that too. While the sounds of “Face the Wall” evoke imagery of sunshine after rainfall, Jordana is stuck in the storm. Take “I Mean That,” for example. A summery instrumental backs Jordana’s expressive vocals, creating a song that could effortlessly fit in a road trip movie; the song’s subject matter revolves around obsessing over the past and overthinking actions.
“Face the Wall” covers a lot of ground within the indie pop spectrum. Tracks such as “Play Fair” and “Catch My Drift” sound raw, taking inspiration from 2000s garage rock. On the other hand, “Like You Used To” conjures ethereal soundscapes. If its rhythmic percussion wasn’t there to ground it, the song feels like it would float away.
The only time “Face the Wall” hits a lull is for the two penultimate tracks: “To The Ground” and “Difficult for Now.” While these songs certainly do not take anything away from the album, they lack the energy and expressiveness that characterizes the rest of the track list. The ambiguous message of “Difficult for Now” is appreciated, however, as it ties into the final say of the album quite well.
Fortunately, the final track, “Why,” ends this project on a high note. Boasting a powerful and catchy hook reminiscent of Alicia Keys’ “No One,” this song feels like catharsis. After an entire album of overthinking, Jordana asks herself, “Why should I even care?” With a delicate outro that acts as the sonic equivalent of exhaling a sigh, “Face the Wall” has resolved its central conflict.
Overall, Jordana’s third album is simply impossible to dislike. Clean, expressive vocals and excellent production make “Face the Wall” a collection of summer-ready indie pop that never overstays its welcome. Sure, perhaps its lyrical themes could have been explored to a greater degree or some songs could have progressed further. However, as a relatively new artist releasing work of this quality, Jordana has nowhere to go but up.
Rating: Light 3.5/5
Poised for success, Jordana shows her strengths on ‘Face the Wall’
One of the simple joys of life is discovering new music, especially from underground artists who are in the process of curating their unique sound. Bedroom pop singer Jordana’s latest record “Face the Wall” captures this feeling; at just her third album in her three-year career to date, she displays an authentic and catchy groove that can quickly turn new listeners into fans. The LP is a refreshing glimpse of what could be a figurehead sound for the next wave of indie pop music.
The album starts magnificently with “Pressure Point,” a catchy track that balances on the line of upbeat and laid-back. The various vocal effects and layered harmonies highlight Jordana’s vocal prowess and the intricate production that is maintained throughout the project.
The next track, “Get Up,” is a slightly slower, more melancholic-sounding track that has a catchy feel yet again. Next, “Play Fair” is a more upbeat track that intersperses instrumental pauses with Jordana’s lead vocal, which is doused in effects and isolated, offering an interesting addition to the song. The song “I Mean That” is one of the stars of the track list, a classic “indie-pop” sound that is once again incredibly catchy with ethereal vocal harmonies in the chorus.
Throughout this project, especially the first half, several songs sound like other artists in the genre, with The Regrettes’ undertones featuring prominently. However, Jordana is able to artfully create a new sound on top of these similar elements, and in no way does it sound duplicated. Instead, the album is a fantastic example of how commonalities within a genre can inspire new artists and drive new sounds.
The song “Go Slow” is another highlight on the album, a driving track with a majestic chorus. This track, along with many others on the album, grandly builds into a hook in a unique way; all the energy rises, then, right before the transition into the hook, the energy is swept away for a beat before returning. It feels like a tidal wave that hangs in the air before crashing onto the shore.
The end of the album has more solid tracks, though they are slightly less memorable than the first half. That being said, there’s no track on this album that could be described as anything but good or great. The album closes triumphantly with “Why,” an encapsulation of the album, providing a good sense of closure.
Last month, Jordana was one of the headliners for the Mischief After Dark concert held in the Student Union on the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus. During this performance, she and her band blasted through a short but lively setlist that included many songs from her recent album. Mirroring the LP, she opened with “Pressure Point,” one of the highlights of the entire concert. In a live setting, the tracks were livelier and more upbeat than their studio-version counterparts, using more forceful drums and guitars, including Jordana shredding on a guitar solo at the end of “Why.” Though her songs have hints of electronic undertones at times, they translated very well to a live setting. Her voice shone on top of impressive instrumental performances from both Jordana and her band members.
Jordana may still be a lesser-known artist, but her current trajectory implies that she can break into the mainstream. “Face the Wall” cements that this is not just a possibility, but a likelihood. Her superb studio sound on this album coupled with her savvy live abilities give her incredible potential for future success. Her authenticity is a welcomed attribute to her high-quality sound, giving her music a refreshing feel as she makes a place for herself in the music industry.