Sounds That old like Seat­tle Seat­tle sound

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC - LAUREN MUR­PHY


Make My Head Sing

ATO Records ★★★★

When a band is limited to gui­tar, bass and drums, the re­sults can be rather dreary and one-di­men­sional. That’s not the case with Jes­sica Lea May­field, who strikes gold work­ing un­der her own steam af­ter a pe­riod un­der the tute­lage of Black Keys man Dan Auerbach, pro­ducer of her early ma­te­rial.

The 24-year-old’s back­ground is pri­mar­ily in roots and blue­grass, and she played in her fam­ily band from the age of eight. But May­field’s third al­bum charts new ter­ri­tory in more than one way. Grunge and rock hov­ered in the back­ground dur­ing her teens, but Make My Head Sing marks the first time she has in­dulged her love of grunge in any mean­ing­ful way.

Many of these 12 tracks are short enough to snap their jaws be­fore mak­ing a lan­guor- ous re­treat. They en­com­pass won­der­fully woozy, off-kil­ter com­po­si­tions, the ma­jor­ity of them in­fused with the spirit of grunge that sounds like May­field grew up in Seat­tle in­stead of small­town Ohio.

Slow, sludgy basslines abound on Obliv­i­ous and Pure Stuff, but their heav­i­ness is tem­pered by the blitheness of May­field’s wispy vo­cals. The brawny open­ing riff on Any­thing You Want could be the in­tro to an Alice in Chains or Pearl Jam song. I Wanna Love You and the chim­ing gui­tar of Do I Have the Time are al­to­gether more up­beat, hung to­gether by a sense of quirky melody and pe­cu­liar lyrics. On the for­mer, May­field omi­nously in­tones such lines as “I have vi­sions in my brain that are dif­fer­ent from the truth” in a man­ner last heard in Twin Peaks circa 1990.

The sense of in­trigue through­out means that you re­ally don’t know what’s com­ing next – which is half the al­lure. In any case, it makes for a deeply sat­is­fy­ing record. jes­si­calea­may­

Down­load: I Wanna Love You, Do I Have the Time

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