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Glum but Strangely Golden
on 23 January 2011
Now here's a splendid debut discovered better late than never.
Jessica Lea Mayfield is a singer/songwriter from Ohio who, on
the evidence displayed on her album 'With Blasphemy So Heartfelt',
is no stranger to dark dreams of hollow howling behind the walls.
Jump straight to 'I Can't Lie To You, Love' for an immediate
taste of her troubled musical and imaginative psyche. It is
an example of uneasy listening of the very best kind. With the
keening discordant guitar lines delivered by Dan Auerbach
(Guitarist/vocalist with The Black Keys, who also produces here)
cutting through the arrangement like a hyena with a bad grudge,
Ms Mayfield is inspired to release some deeply unsettling sounds
of her own. Her voice has the capacity to make our blood run cold!
This endearing quality is sustained through some wonderfully
glum compositions. 'I'm Not Lonely Anymore' belies its optimistic
title with a melody curiously at odds with the notion of true
love encapsulated in the somewhat syrupy lyrics. The abrupt ending,
however, leaves us a tad uncertain as to whether or not this
particular romance ran deep enough to endure.
So too 'Call Me', another piece of cooly ambivalent self-reflection.
Ms Mayfield has the gift of amplifying those small moments of
existence which most of us have felt but might not care to acknowledge.
Loliness; fear, uncertainty; longing - laid out like a winding sheet.
The woozy strains of final track 'You've Won Me Over' seems an
attempt to capture just a little hope and warmth in the last
fading embers of the fire of her unflinchingly melancholy muse.
Not an album to listen to at the end of a difficult day but it is
nonetheless an uncompromisingly gloomy gem worth getting to know.
Recommended to listeners confident and comfortable with solitude!