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A review of...
Jessica's Brother by Jessica's Brother
Jessica's Brother are a three piece from London, comprising of Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm (drummer with The Wave Pictures) and Charlie Higgs (from the Ramshackle Union Band), and this is their self titled debut album. It's a thoroughly enjoyable mix of alt-country darkness and almost-summer tinged folk.
"All The Better" is perhaps the best example of the band's lighter side, with its laid back west coast folk vibe, a sumptuous violin hook courtesy of Dan Mayfield and Charleston's literary narrative. There are varied influences a-plenty here, but the band that immediately springs to mind with many of these songs is the Violent Femmes. You can hear their imprint in the discordant guitar solo on "One Of The Guys" and the fractured, pleading "Give 'em the chorus, make 'em adore us" lines on "Getting Obscene", a song which would sit nicely on the Violent Femmes' classic Hallowed Ground LP. Then there's tracks like "Humdinger" which revel in that ultra-slowed down slacker rock which Pavement were the undeniable masters of (think "Major Leagues" and you won't be far off). "Come Around" even has a post-rock/jazz thing going on. Things come to a blistering crescendo in "Overnight Horror" which is probably the passionate highlight of this excellent album.
It's pretty clear that Jessica's Brother aren't really breaking new ground or looking to start a brand new genre here, but at the end of the day, who is? And truth be told, there aren't an awful lot of bands that sound like this in 2018, and there aren't many bands who can spin these influences into something as exciting as this. These are finely crafted songs with great melodies, played rough and raw and with a lot of heart and soul. A great debut.