Stereogum 4/13/2016

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Jaggery is a Boston-based art-rock collective featuring Mali Sastri (vocals, keys), Tony Leva (bass), Daniel Schubmehl (percussion), Dylan Jack (percussion), Rachel Jayson (viola), and Petaluma Vale (harp, backing vocals). They combine their varied sensibilities and predilections to make a lush, versatile sound that melds chamber rock and pop, darkwave, jazz, and classical elements. Each sonic excursion is grand and sweeping, unrelenting on the ears, but pleasant in the demand of engagement. The lyrics provide no reprieve either, tussling with subjects of inner conflict, higher purpose, and even incorporating classic literature for vivid storytelling. They’re named after an unrefined sugar found in Asia and Africa, and it suits them well as their sound enticing, but intentionally uneasy to to digest.

The collective is set to release their new LP, Crux, later this spring, and the latest offering from the album is “Garden.” Tender viola and a slow grand piano progression glide into piercing lyrics that float gently above. Intricate percussion and warped synths join later to lift Sastri’s musing of “All of the things I didn’t do to get here” for a powerful climax. She explores how we can be lured into a false sense of security mistaking our passivity in reacting as sentient beings as affecting the world around us. The deeply contemplative lyrics combined with the exquisite textures of the instrumental layers make for an arresting experience. Listen.

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