With vocals that embrace something of both Adam Levine and Chris Martin, Australian Dino Jag’s six-track EP Breakthrough is brimming with dynamism, even on the slower and darker numbers. His infectious energy has already been appreciated by the many listeners who voted his 2016 single “You Make Me Feel So Good” into second place in the Adult Contemporary category of the International Unsigned Music Awards, and by the ones who helped “Calling All The Saints” become the most purchased song in Oxfam America’s Music for Good programme.
Dino Jag’s strength lies in peppering light-hearted music with heavy musings in bite-size form. Each number remains easy to digest because there is only a little bit of insight to gain, helping it go down easily—much like a certain well-known spoonful of sugar making medicine go down. In fact, one doesn’t even realise at first that there are important tidbits to take away from this EP; at first listen, one mainly gets the impression that it’s just a catchy, quirky, and energetic contribution to the pop-rock scene.
“Two Young Hearts”, for one, is a fond look at the past with a hope for an even better future. Long-over but unforgotten young love is often the topic of emotional songs; but the feelings expressed tend to veer towards melancholy and sadness. Dino Jag does have both in this track, but only a touch of each, and that is not stopping him from trusting that things can return to what they were: “Why don’t we sail away me and you/We could start again brand new/We could have another dance/We deserve a second chance/‘Cause two young hearts can fall in love again.” This might not seem like much of an insight, but putting hope over despair is a powerful choice that many seem to forgo. “Two Young Hearts” could easily become an irresistible spring blockbuster on any pop radio station.
The singer/songwriter chooses the same path in “Breakthrough”, a slower track in which we understand how Jag’s passion for music is so strong that it got him through a particularly painful time in his life. It’s pensive and introspective, and we get another glimpse into his positivity as he shares the anguish of being with someone who ripped the carpet from under his feet, only to demonstrate the power of his choice to pour himself into his music rather that letting the darkness close in on him.
The track that best embodies his attitude towards life is the cheerful, upbeat, happy, and exuberant “You Make Me Feel So Good”, which successfully combines the unusual flavours of folk and funk by making sure there is just enough of each. It’s the same with optimism: too much makes of a person a dreamer, too little makes for a bleak outlook on life. Infectious and dynamic, this pop-rock number celebrates the positive influence of a healthy relationship.
Energizing pop-rock fun from beginning to end, Breakthrough is disappointing only in its length; the five tracks seem like a tease that whet one’s appetite for more. Australia’s summer spirit is something needed during another harsh northern winter. More information about Dino Jag is available on his website and his Facebook page.