ABOVE: THE JEZABELS. PHOTO COURTESY OF CYBELE MALINOWSKI.
Nearly two years after its sophomore album The Brink, Australian four-piece The Jezabels is independently releasing Synthia, which includes “Pleasure Drive,” a gothic, disco hall anthem. Here we are pleased to premiere the accompanying video that, as the song’s title suggests, places pleasure—auditory and otherwise—at its core.
“We started jamming to [the sequencer] and all I wanted to sing about was pleasure, the kind of pleasure that repression seems to make us want to deny,” Hayley Mary, lead vocalist of The Jezabels, says. “Call it the devil and attach guilt and shame to it, but really, you know it’s a good thing—to feel good, to enjoy your life.”
At first, “Pleasure Drive” encapsulates exactly that, beckoning the viewer to succumb to their desires. In the video, hands of other women massage and awaken Mary into a possessed state. Her eyes glow white and a coy smile spreads across her lips as she levitates in ecstasy before twirling, naked, in a glittering, gold room. A smooth, ’70s-style dance number follows, but the video’s exuberance soon becomes wistful, and the carnal joy takes a sinister turn, as Mary draws 666 in ketchup on a diner’s counter, set to the lyrics, “I’ve got a six, six baby I don’t give a fuck / Just give me one more number, I’ll make you mine.”
“On early listens, the song can seem really upbeat and joyous, which it is,” Mary explains. “But I always think of it as actually quite melancholic, and the video brings that out.” This melancholy is perhaps most evident as Mary and the other women depicted, while in a collective trance, turn on their male partners and nearly smother them within their chests, as though silencing the men through female sexuality. Once awakened, the women’s expressions register genuine surprise at their power. The feminist implications are readily apparent.
“Stories of women are being told and listened to more than ever and that, I think, will have a lasting effect on culture,” Mary continues. “I suppose [in making Synthia] I just felt more confidence to tell my own stories because of the way I felt the world was going. I feel like more of a real person, with the valid thoughts and aspirations, because I see more people like me out there. I guess that’s why diversity is important. It’s not just tokenism. It tells people they’re accepted.”
SYNTHIA WILL BE RELEASED FEBRUARY 12, 2016. FOR MORE ON THE JEZABELS, VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE.