Saturday 30 June 2012

Jezzy & The Belles - Compasses & Maps

Album review by KevW

Having such a diverse musical upbringing has evidently served Jessica Eisenberg well. With a father who obsessed over classical music and a Cuban mother whose Latin sounds vied for space on the stereo, Jezzy's own love of more contemporary guitar music made for a heady mix of influences. Starting out as a violinist, her love of guitars soon made her switch instruments and begin forming bands, eventually recording 'Compasses & Maps' as essentially a solo project with the aid of producer Ilia Bis. The chosen moniker of Jezzy & The Belles first appeared on an EP earlier this year, and now this debut album.

Brooklyn is a city renowned for its rich indie/experimental scene and much of this, along with her childhood influences, has been thrown into the melting pot here. The basis for many of these songs is an acoustic guitar and stripped to basics this would be a fine contemporary folk album. Right from the off though, the rich textures of dreampop begin to appear on 'By Proxy', adding an extra dimension to the conventional singer-songwriter fare. She's not afraid of beats either, 'Holiness As High As This' and 'Sailing Into Curious Lands' are given a rockier, alternative edge. 'Confess Child''s jittering beat and forlorn brass and strings would be labelled as trip-hop had it been made in Bristol fifteen years ago.

In the end it's this eclectic approach that transforms what would be a nice enough set of acoustic guitar tracks into something more dynamic and diverse. For comparisons you could thrown in names such as Bjork, PJ Harvey and even Tori Amos, such are the various musical avenues explored, and while Jezzy & The Belles may not quite belong in such esteemed company just yet, 'Compasses & Maps' shows that she has the raw talent and the willingness to not always play it safe that could see her make more headway in the future. A decent and assured first outing.

Free download: 'Confess Child'
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Jezzy & The Belles' website

Stream or buy the album

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