REVIEW: J*DaVeY – New Designer Drug

J*DaVeY‘s long awaited album, New Designer Drug, is finally here. Due for release on 22 November through their own ILLAV8R imprint (and not Warner), the album will actually come as a free download bundled with purchases of NDD: The Liner Notes.

Within the music industry all artists have their own area of expertise, from James Brown’s soul and funk to A Tribe Called Quest’s jazz infused hip-hop. Some artists, like the darlings of the LA new-wave scene J*DaVeY, have been well known to take various genres and put their own spin on things, therefore becoming musically futuristic and staying consistently relevant.


01. Listen
02. Queen of Wonderland feat. Thundercat
03. Whatcha Lookin @
04. Kill 4 Fun
05. Rock That Ship
06. Turn The Lights Out
07. Little Tramp$
08. Topsy Turvy
09. MaMa’s Back
10. This One
11. Anything Goes

New Designer Drug is an album packed full of paradoxes. With calm, yet rocky, vocal twists and turns that then manipulate along soulful piano melodies, which then kick to electro grooves, it is Listen that kicks off the ride through the revolutionary mind of J*DaVeY – aka Miss Jay Davey and Brook D’Leau. Breezy, serene collected and punk-rock style vocals much in the vein of say Blondie vs Siouxsie and the Banshees, dance around a goose-bumping bass-line. This is all rounded off with whimsical melodies, which take you to another zone of J*DaVeY’s frame of mind; “Listen babe, I wanna tell you things. I never know what to say. I never have the right thing to say.” These seemingly simple lyrics still have the ability to reach out and grab every single piece of your attention; it speaks for itself, and all you have to do is listen.

Queen of Wonderland Ft. Thundercat by ILLAV8R

The J*DaVeY train turns the music up a notch on a rich and electronic route with Whatcha Looking @. Feather like vocals, coupled with harsh words, call out and captivate, which are then joined by exotic, eastern drumming with an electro pop twist; in some strange way it conjures up an image of an eastern Britney Spears, however with a lot more depth and soul. Unlike on J*DaVeY’s previous EPs, their tendency to experiment now seems somewhat restrained. New Designer Drug is a lot more noisy where clashing sounds are concerned. In some tracks, the thickness of soul has been slightly lost along the journey that is the twisting and turning railroad of the J*DaVeY experience. Peculiar tracks, such as Rock That Ship and Kill 4 Fun, slightly spoil the artistry of the music and are a little over the top.

Ultimately, New Designer Drug is an unexpected variety of sounds that transports you to an intoxicatingly strange place. Whether you want to stay there is your decision, but I think I’m going to hang for while.