Jessica Bailiff

Jessica Bailiff

Hour of the Trace

Kranky

You can tell a lot about an album just by looking at its background information. Some of the credits here are: produced and engineered by Alan Sparhawk of Low, drums on “Toska” by Mimi Parker, also of Low, and it’s on Kranky, home to Labradford, Bowery Electric, Windy and Carl, Low, and many others. Are you beginning to see the picture form? Layers and layers of prettiness and heavenly vocals. Angels perched on old decrepit statues. Sunsets. Fresh dew in the early morning. Butterflies. Hallmark stuff.

The first two songs, “Crush” and “Toska” are exactly what you would expect. So pretty, so wonderful. “After Hours” is quite the change of pace. Loud, thick, churning guitars with the head turned straight shoewards. “Amnesia” goes back to the style of the first two songs, but perhaps in a darker and less innocent way. “Warren” dances on the edge of perception, hypnotically repeating over it’s organ drone.

The fifth track, “Perception,” shatters the mold cast by the earlier portion of the album. It is a 20-minute journey though the inner recesses of the mind, going from stark tones to heavenly dronage. Astounding. “Across the Miles” lets us come down gently, rounding out the record.

This album isn’t breaking much new ground. However, it more than compensates by being so… so… nice. This is just a really nice album. What more can you ask for?

Kranky Records, P.O. Box 578743, Chicago, IL 60657

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