Jess McAllister –Painted Faces EP (Mill Records)
Pop/folk singer-songwriter, Jess McAllister, releases her debut EP.
The four track EP from Jess McAllister, now on its second release, showcases an artist with quite a talent in songwriting, but also with sugar caoated vocals which are both believable and enchanting. Jess claims not to be the best in her field, and that’s refreshing to hear, instead explaining that she merely puts hers feeling and experiences into words for all to enjoy. That she certainly does do.
She’ll inevitably be compared to others – an unfortunate thing we tend to do with British female singers – but some of the comparisons are justified and are indeed honourable. EP opener Take A Walk begins with ghostly vocals in a style of the wonderful Phildel and soon moves into Kate Nash territory. Yes, there are hints of other artists but that’s hard not to do when you’re sharing lifetime moments. The doctor’s surgery in the first track may be full and Jess may have been there for days, but if anyone was listening to this delightful EP, then the time would pass quickly.
Title track, Painted Faces is another wonderful piece of writing beginning with swirling piano and equally spiralling cymbals it soon moves forward into something slightly more sinister sounding with backing vocals that are both haunting and incredibly beautiful at the same time.
There’s something very special about Jess McAllister, and maybe it’s harder to pinpoint that I think. She’s incredibly listenable and infectious and I’d challenge anyone to listen to the EP just once without feeling the uncontrollable desire to hit ‘repeat’ again. And again.
More comparisons in the form of Tori Amos perhaps before definite nod in the direction of the very underrated Fiona Apple on third track Shadows In The Night. A voice which is capable of ripping a hole in the sky but equally as possible is the prospect of the same tones sewing it back together again with gentile precision, Jess is a talent waiting to happen.
Closing with Never Mind Buying Time, the all too short debut is over all too soon. Sweeping violin and cheeky mandolin compliment a gripping cello and Jess’ simple girl-next-door voice. If I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow, I’d contemplate frequenting Plymouth pubs in the hope of stumbling across a talent like this – they don’t come along too often and we really should embrace them whilst they are here.
Published on Louder Than War 10/02/14 - here