I heard about Jimblah through a good mate BVA from Mnemonic Ascent years ago. For those who don’t know, BVA is a dope producer, rapper and lyricist who had a little studio in his house in Adelaide, while he cared for his grandmother in the attached granny flat. The Herd reluctantly toured Adelaide in those days because we’d be playing to 800 people in Sydney and Melbourne, only to scratch our heads as a trickle of Adelaide’s finest would make for a sparse venue. Hard to justify when you’re flying 10 people around. We did, however, look forward to hooking up with BVA for the odd studio session so there were never any regrets. Actually that’s a lie – we had band members who swore blind never to return to South Australia. We did though, many times.
BVA worked with Jimblah in a kind of mentoring role, and this is one of the first songs I heard that made me really take notice in 2006 or so.
The moment Jimblah stopped me in my tracks was with his debut album Face the Fire – it’s undeniably underrated, but it’s arguably a classic. I clearly remember driving around Adelaide airport dropping a hire car off after unloading the band to check-in, tears welling up in my eyes as I played the title track – and its heartbreaking outro. I was struck by how good it was. How on Earth was this record not being talked about, everywhere? That moment set off a chain of events that included Jimblah enthusiastically agreeing to join up with Elefant Traks; Pegz being magnanimous enough to allow us to sign him despite a contract with Obese Distribution in place; and us re-releasing Face the Fire. Here it is in full:
He’s been productive ever since. He brought that distinctive warm strained soul to Glimpses and On Your Shoulders on my most recent album Smokey’s Haunt.
Then took The Tongue to a new level with his part in the push and pull of Victory from his 2013 album Surrender to Victory.
After he signed off on the mixes of his album mid 2013 he flew to Sydney, dropping into triple j to cover Matt Corby‘s Resolution. By flipping some of the lyrics he completely recontextualised the song in a manner consistent with the single-minded focus and dedication he’s shown on his new album Phoenix.
The following month saw Horrorshow‘s third album King Amongst Many land at #2 on the national charts with a brilliant collection of songwriting and production. One of the most memorable songs on the album is Own Backyard, the collaboration with Jimblah – a stunning match of mood and lyrics with a showstopping verse from Solo and a heartfelt chorus from Jimblah that knocks it out of the park. A future classic.
And at last, the follow-up to that incredible debut album is almost upon us, with this beautiful video and haunting introduction to Phoenix.
I know I write more words than is maybe necessary. Sometimes I find it hard to encapsulate just how much this music means to me. It feels so important not just as works of art, but in the insights it provides as we seek to understand ourselves. His posts on his facebook page are an accurate reflection of the way optimism and turmoil have to slug it out. It’s honest, like his music. The entire world should pull up the handbrake and stop to listen to artists like Jimblah. But if that’s unfeasible, then at least you should.
Jimblah’s album Phoenix comes out October 11 through Elefant Traks.