The Adventures of Jodelle

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Every once in a while, one comes across an album in which the artwork and the musical content are like night and day; The Adventures of Jodelle is that type of album. Judging from the cute, playful art work -- Jodelle is depicted in a '60s-like espionage/spy thriller getup that recalls the era of James Bond movies, Get Smart, and The Avengers -- one would expect the New Jersey-based singer/songwriter to provide something fun and frivolous. Perhaps some dance-pop or Europop; perhaps something on the goofier side of punk. But it turns out that The Adventures of Jodelle (her first full-length album) is a very serious-minded, introspective, and often melancholy adult alternative effort that draws on influences ranging from Kate Bush, Tori Amos, and Sarah McLachlan to late-period Beatles. Jodelle, however, isn't as abstract as Amos (although she also plays the piano quite well), and she tends to be more robust than the subtle McLachlan (both in terms of her soaring vocals and her melodies). While comparisons to those singer/songwriters are all well and good, Jodelle is clearly her own person -- and she brings an impressive sense of pop/rock craftsmanship to highly personal, brooding items like "Happy Song" (which definitely isn't a happy song), "All Save One," "Shrinking Violet," and "Damage Done." So why would someone who gives Fiona Apple a serious run for her money when it comes to providing an abundance of dark, troubled lyrics have such a fun and lighthearted album cover? Perhaps Jodelle simply felt like being ironic, or perhaps Jodelle -- after dealing with all those darker emotions -- needed to demonstrate that she does know how to laugh and smile. Whatever the case, her material is generally excellent -- and she shows considerable promise on The Adventures of Jodelle.

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