Jessica Bailiff 

Jessica Bailiff
/kranky; 2002/

rating : 7.5



more info:

Tonight I went to the cinema with an old friend of mine. Theaters are the only places I can be with him without feeling either bored or sad : you have enough time to tell the important things happening in your life and then you have something to occupy your thoughts (the movie, duh.) Anyway. It was a multiplex and it looked more like an idiots' meeting place than a cinema. One guy actually took a call right in the middle of the movie. It was nice by the way, for a Spielberg movie featuring Tom Cruise.

And now I'm sitting at home listening to Jessica Bailiff's third album. It would be perfect if the second track wasn't on it. Each time I put the cd in the player I have to consider if I skip the two first songs and start with the third or leave the first song and skip afterwards. Because the first song's awesome, really. But in the same time I can't stand Hour of the Traces. It's physical. Swallowed opens the album in a brilliantly ethereal way. What I like about Jessica Bailiff is the cozy coldness of the songs, it's foggy but it's alright since you don't plan on moving from this couch for the next couple of hours. I wish I could make out what she sings in this first song... I can't stand the stupid violin on Hour of the Traces, which sounds goth in a medieval way. Fortunately it's the only song I can't stand. The Hiding Place features sitar but it's not as annoying as the Hour of the Traces violin. Her voice is drowned in a fog of reverb, and god knows I love reverb. She sounds a bit like Hope Sandoval on some tracks, which is definitely good. The 10th century goth feeling comes back with Big Hill, which only features an epileptic violin and Bailiff's voice. You Were so Close is more traditional and Disappear has in the same time a shoegazing feeling and a VU feeling (the basic drums, Bailiff's cold voice and the noisy violin are reminiscent of Venus in Furs). Mary is filled with discreet noisy guitar overdubs hidden in the back, the front been occupied by Bailiff and her guitar. The lovely reverb is still here. Time is an Echo starts in an "experimental" way (melodies recorded and reversed) It's a slow motion ballad. I haven't mentioned it so far, but, really, the music is far from being cheerful and uplifting, it's a sad winter album. And I love sad winter albums. The final song, The Thief starts with piano and multiple vocal tracks and slowly blooms. Or dies, depending on your mood. I listen to this album more than to Beth Gibbons' solo album. Maybe because there are still bits of sunshine piercing their way through you on Out of Season. The intense opaqueness of Jessica Bailiff's album reinforces the emotion she succeeds in conveying, as striking as bloodstains on white snow.


/nov 1st 2002/