Jessica Bailiff’s self-titled debut sounds exactly like I thought Rachel Brook (ex-FSA)‘s new band, Movietone, would. I was expecting basically a female fronted version of Flying Saucer Attacl, and yet, that was not what I heard (for better and worse). This is not to say Ms. Bailiff does not have any original ideas, and belaboring that point or idea in the style she operates in, and I love, is a bit pointless. EVERYONE sounds like 3 or 4 bands who did it first, yeah yeah yeah.
Even in Silence, if it is indeed indebted to Dave Pearce, then takes most of its inspiration from the non-eclectic side of Flying Saucer Attack. There’s no wild percussion or honking clarinets to be found here, in fact the only time she breaks from the omnipresent super-distorted guitars, is when she goes to organ/synth on “One Red Year.” She makes that, and most of the rest of the album a not-bad, not-brilliant disk, by making her voice more audible than FSA, yet not oppressing us with it. If she indeed can’t sing, we’ll never know it from how she mixes her voice. At any rate, I’m of the opinion she can, as her music is bettered by her voice.
If I and many others are wrong, and Flying Saucer Attack is not a huge influence on her, then indeed her collaborators in Low, are. Alan Sparhawk plays some guitar and did various recording/mixing duties on this disk, as did Zak Sally and Mimi Parker, in the percussion dept. (which is hard to type with a straight face, as the word itself evokes more images of arms flying rather than say, Ms. Parker standing nearly ramrod straight, hitting a cymbal every half hour). Tempos are slow, as they are in the Duluth trio. Melodies here do indeed bounce off your head and stick by surface tension to your heart, as they do with Low, see “For You” and “Trust” for proof.
More kudos come to Ms. Bailiff in the way she mixes cleaner, more abstract, Seefeel-ish sounds than both FSA and Low in songs like “Dreamlanding.”
Written by Pearson Greer.