Sarah Jaffe

Don't Disconnect

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Mercurial Texan Sarah Jaffe shed much of her coffeehouse-bred singer/songwriter persona on her largely pop-oriented (and decidedly left-field) 2012 outing The Body Wins, an inclination that she applies with even more diligence on 2014's aptly titled Don't Disconnect, a precision-tuned collection of '80-s infused, alternately icy and radio-ready electro pop that owes more to artists like Robyn and Frankie Rose than it does Michelle Shocked and Lucinda Williams. Opener "Ride It Out," all fat synths and can-do attitude, suggests a Goldfrapp/Feist mash-up, and serves as a pretty good litmus test as to whether the listener wants to climb on board or not, which they should, as more times than not, Jaffe finds the sweet spot between the dancefloor and the open road. "Fatalist" veers closest to the latter, offering up a bluesy, rambling backbeat with an electro-thump center that evokes the expansive highways the Lone Star State, but it's when she splits the difference between the two persuasions, as she does with great aplomb on the shoegazey "Some People Will Tell You" and the soulful title track, that Jaffe reveals her considerable pop acumen. She hasn't completely abandoned her roots, as evidenced by lucid, slow-burn numbers like "Slow Pour" and the Vangelis-meets-Grimes-epic "Revelations," both of which were likely born out of late-night acoustic guitar meanderings before receiving their heavy chrome sheen. That said, Don't Disconnect represents the completion of a sea change, and though she's wading into awfully crowded waters, she has enough presence, both vocally and artistically, to navigate her way through to the next one without losing herself in the process.

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