Thursday, June 7, 2007

Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter

The amazing atmospherics of “Like Love Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul” are apparent from the outset of the album. The ambience of the album is due as much to the subdued jazzy vocals of Jesse Sykes as it is to the instrumentation. At times, Sykes sounds like a more throaty Billie Holiday. At other times, her voice has a Grace Slick tone. The album's first three songs set the tone. It starts with the slow acoustic melody and eerie harmonica of “Eisenhower Moon.” “LLL” is a more upbeat tune that has Sykes smoky Blues vocals layered with psychedelic overdubs. “You Might Walk Away” has catchy hooks and is great pop tune with Jazzy keyboards in the backgrounds.

Sykes aforementioned Grace Slick on a mellow trip sound is most apparent on a couple of songs that take on the feel of Jefferson Airplane. The Sixties era Haight-Ashbury scene is explored most notably on “How Will We Know” and “I Like the Sound.” These are not banal tributes. The band never loses its originality as it crosses genres. To be sure, the atmospherics are overdone at times. For example, on “Spectral Beings” a droning melody is trying too hard to create the ambiance. However, the best songs on this album are truly memorable. The production team of Tucker Martine (The Decemberists and Long Winters) and Martin Feveyear (Mark Lanegan and Kings of Leon) also deserve kudos for the way they created the album’s rich textures without masking the music at its core.
Link to this free MP3
*Posted with Permission from Barsuk Records
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