on 2 February 2001
DAMN!!! what an lp, i must admit i slept on Esthero for years until i really listened to final home on DJ Krush's 'Code 4109' and i'm ashamed for that. The lyrics are deep and strong without being too obscure or pretentious although it should take a few listens to appreciate the real beauty of each track. And Jen really does have an incredible voice, the emotive nature of Thom Yorke (Radiohead) or Beth Gibbons (Portishead) but deep like the Gift of Gab (Blackalicious/Quannum) or Isabel Monteiro (Drugstore). This gorgeously seductive voice coupled with the damn fine varied production makes for a refreshing lp which should get play for years. Basically, if you like Bjork and Portishead then i strongly advise giving this one a listen but be warned the term 'trip-hop' does NOT in my opinion serve this lp justice.
It's a credit to Esthero's skills that her sultry debut is still remembered seven years after its release, and in the shadow of a warm, funky follow-up. Most albums of this type fade into obscurity.
But Canadian trip-hoppist Esthero, with the help of producer Doc, manages to create a unique musical experience in "Breath From Another": chilly trip-jazz, with sexy lyrics and some hip-hop flavourings. The songwriting can be hit-and-miss, but the music and Esthero's singing are wonderful.
It opens on a diverse note in the title track: slow trippy beats and waves, which rapidly rev up into a hip-hop sound. Esthero's voice starts off breathy, but after she launches into a throaty rap, her vocals gain substance and strength. "Don't compromise what's gold/For the soul you never sold," she croons over and over.
Several songs of the songs that follow could be classified as pop music, like the catchy "That Girl" and James-Bondian interlude "Flipher Overture." But Esthero never leaves behind trip-hop and hip-hop, both of which flicker up in various songs.
But other styles crop up over the course of the album: pure soft electronica, dancey jazz, trippy Latin, and others. The only unifying style here is trip-hop. As a result, a few songs simply don't fit in: "Country Livin' (The World I Know)" moves too slow and has too few beats thrown in, so it feels vaguely out of place.
Canadian Esthero herself sounds a lot like Icelandic pop star Emiliana Torrini, who also has made a career out of electic styles. Her voice can be throaty or sweet, depending on the song. Doc (with whom she has since parted ways) produced a beautiful array of songs for her to sing, with everything from electronica to harp.
And Esthero's sweet voice can bring a surprising sense of innocence to some very sexual songs. And some truly beautiful ones as well: "My mouth is clean, my hands are dirty/Heaven isn't on my side," she sings mournfully at one point. But the lyrics here are not quite as even as her later work; the second half has some songs that sound a bit silly. "Stay awhile longer sweet tongue of fur and feather/There is a white breast waiting for you here" -- what?
Esthero's trippy, jazzy debut is a mad melange of styles and sounds, and the sometimes-uneven lyrics can't bog down a very talented singer. Definitely worth checking out.
on 24 October 2002
I bought this album after I heard Esthero on Ian Pooley's "Balmes" remix and Nelly Furtado's album. Jenny B's voice is so unique that I had to get more and so I purchased this album. I have to say its one of the best albums I have heard in a while, just a shame I hadn't found it sooner.
The duo's hybrid sound is a fantastic take on all genres from indie to chillout to trip-hop. If you need a change and want to broaden your horizons, this album is highly recommended. If in doubt, simply listen to track "That Girl" which is an instantaneous favourite.
on 4 November 2003
I've started hearing about Esthero quite a while ago. One day, while watching an eletronic music show, I saw the song Heaven Sent ( such a great song ).
I've been obsessed with this artist eversince. Great album & higly underrated. Very shameful.
PS. She also sang on a Black Eyed Peas song called Weekends, she had a song on the GO soundtrack & one on Nelly Furtado's first album like mentionned by one of the previous reviews.
on 6 March 2001
Wow!!I bought this album just beacause one of my favorite songs ever is on it(That girl),but what i found is a album packed with incredible music,u really do need to buy this,it suits all styles.From the poppy,That girl,to the indie The world i know.Amazing!!!!!