Jane Inc Goes in Every Direction at Once on 'Number One'
Published Mar 18, 2021In the past year, conversations surrounding mental health and social media have taken an important place in the media discourse. They have also started to influence the current work of numerous artists, including Jane Inc, the solo project of Ice Cream's Carlyn Bezic. Her first album, Number One, explores questions of self-reflection and self-image.
With Number One, Bezic offers an album that doesn't stray too far from what she does with Ice Cream. Still sticking to her roots in experimental pop, the sounds are colourful, evoking a party or a night at a disco. The first track, "Gem," gives the impression of entering a modern-day Studio 54. The instruments come together to create a heavy disco beat, a reminder of long nights filled with dance and well-dressed people. The album is carefully crafted around this spirit while addressing mental health, as if Bezic is showing how our identities are merely social media constructs through a music genre heavily influenced by beauty and flamboyant aesthetics.
While some songs are powerful and well delivered — notably "Gem," "Dirt and the Earth," "My Oldest Friend" and "Obliterated" — others clash with the album's overall concept. There isn't a clear direction that guides Number One, making it easy for listeners to feel lost between each song transition.
Individually, each of these tracks has room to land. "Faceless" is an interesting experimental interlude that soothes, but it loses sense between "Steel" and "Dirt and the Earth." "Steel" could have had its moment of glory on the album, but it is overshadowed by coming right after the opener and strongest song of the album, "Gem."
Bezic explores different aspects of her artistry, but the lack of coherence impacts the listening experience, and some of the experimental songs stick out. "Mine/His" and "Bloom Becomes Me" are great songs that would have benefited from being on another album.
This being said, Number One still manages to be a heartfelt and honest first album. Bezic knows how to create a story through her songs and deliver high-quality tracks, proving she is indeed an accomplished solo artist. She explores subjects in her songs that aren't easy to handle, all while creating an experimental soundtrack that wants to make us dance and explore our own relationship to both image and identity.
Even with its lack of coherence, Number One proves that Jane Inc is here to stay. This first album is a prelude to a promising solo career for Carlyn Bezic — one that should make her an act to follow for the next few years. (Telephone Explosion)