JESSIE JONES: SELF-TITLED
Feeding People and Death Valley Girls’ Jessie Jones materializes her full-length solo debut, which is just as unpredictable and wild as the woman herself. There are a few silhouettes of Feeding People still present, but there’s a lot more free spirit at play, and the biggest and best surprise are songs like “Twelve Hour Man,” a studied valentine to the lush motorik production of Stereolab with Jones’ elastic vocals on top. It’s a strange concept—like sending Neu! on I-10 through East Texas, and demanding an album upon arrival in New Orleans—but it gets us to an unexpected and unexpectedly satisfying place. Jessie’s songs are always little journeys, and that’s what the autobahn sound is all about. (Plus sharp paranoid-pop lyrics, probably completely true: “The CIA knows where I’ve been…”) “Make It Spin” points this sound toward Syd Barrett, whose psychedelic nursery rhyme cadence sets the vocals on here in motion, and then producer Bobby Harlow and co.’s arrangements start pulling things apart and putting them back together upside down. “Lady La-De-Da” snaps out of a trance-y Velvet Underground-Raincoats death song into some extravagant experimentalism, while mid-point “La Loba” switches Mazzy Star ghost blues into cabaret psych and a surprise rave-up at the five minute mark. The ones that haunt me hardest have the least things happening, however—and the most space for Jessie’s voice to play tricks on you. Really, the most meaningful match here happens on “Nightingale,” where Jones’ and lonely vocals meet Loog-Oldham-y strings and harpsichord for the kind of song Marianne Faithfull might have made at midnight in Memphis.