First Look: New Jesse Sykes Album

 

 

Marble Son, released
next week by Station Grey/Thirty Tigers, is a remarkable foray into freak-folk
and psychedelia that’s considerably removed from the group’s early alt.country
sound.

 

By Michael Toland

 

Singer/songwriter Jesse Sykes and her combo the Sweet
Hereafter have been the darlings of the modern alt.country scene for a decade
now. But the band’s restless, creative minds will hardly sit still in one place
for long. On Marble Son, Sykes and
the Hereafters fold layers of gauzy acid folk, swirling psychedelic guitar
noise and haunted atmospheres into her droning Americana. It’s as if she discovered LSD
while hanging out with the art metal overlords in Sunn 0))) and Boris (on whose
collaborative LP Altar she appears) –
even her lyrics have grown more enigmatic and searching.

 

Marble Son encompasses the ethereal folk of “Birds of Passerine” and “Be It Me, Or Be It
None” as snugly as the dramatic acid grunge of “Hushed By Devotion” and
“Pleasuring the Divine,” while still finding room for the straightforward roots
rock of “Come to Mary.” Guitarist Phil Wandscher emerges as an equal partner
here, as his dynamic riffs and lysergic textures duet with Sykes’ soulful
vocals – he even gets his own instrumental showcase, the swelling epic “Weight
of Cancer.”

 

For all the new sonic waves undulating through this record,
however, the band’s distinctive identity still shines – there’s no mistaking Marble Son for the work of anyone else,
and it’s the ability to evolve while still remaining true to core values that
makes Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter great.

 

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