Energizing pop rock fun from beginning to end—even at its darkest—Breakthrough’s only disappointment is in its length; the five tracks seem like a tease that whet one’s appetite for more. With vocals that embrace something of both Adam Levine and Chris Martin, Australian Dino Jag’s six-track EP is bursting with energy, optimism, and enthusiasm. Little wonder, then, that his 2016 single “You Make Me Feel So Good” placed second in the Adult Contemporary category of the International Unsigned Music Awards, and that “Calling All The Saints” become the most purchased song in Oxfam America’s Music for Good programme.
Dino Jag’s style is peppering light-hearted music with heavy musings in bite-size form, which keeps each song easy to digest.In fact, important lessons go do a little too easily at times, as they are overcome by the catchy and quirky energy of this pop rock EP.The uptempo “Nothing But You” is unrelenting in its approach, the hints of R&B wrapping around the foot tapping beat. Obsessing about a woman can make a man come off as a creep, but in Dina Jag’s case, he comes off as a young puppy in love, despite his sometimes raw honesty. The blues-tinged “Sweet Summer Smile” could have been wistful but remains hopeful and positive. “Two Young Hearts” is a warm look at the past with hope for an even better future, with Dino Jag using the slight tinge of melancholy and sadness as a springboard rather than a weight: “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.” Putting hope over despair is a powerful choice that many seem to decline. Similarly,in the slower “Breakthrough”, Dino Jag uses his passion for music as a catalyst for getting back up after a woman yanked the carpet from under his feet.
The darkness moments in this EP come in the ballad “My Life is Changed”. Looking at the past, Dino Jag shares his memories of a woman he loved, memories that seem to bring him down in an unusual way—for him, at least. The poignancy of his emotions can be felt through his emotive vocals as well as through the vivid imagery his lyrics evoke. Somehow, the number doesn’t bring the experience of the EP down; almost like a much-needed counterweight, it only helps to make the optimism in the rest of the numbers shine brighter, as if Dino Jag’s confession of deep pain and vulnerability gives legitimacy to his positivity.
“You Make Me Feel So Good”, which celebrates the positive influence of a healthy relationship, embodies everything Dino Jag: cheerful, upbeat, happy, and exuberant. The seldom-seen delicate balance between hope and despair—or optimism and realism—is, in a way, also exemplified in this number, with the marriage of pop rock, folk, and fun. More information about the singer/songwriter is available on hiswebsite and Facebook page.