Friday, January 05, 2007

Into the Dark by Jess McAvoy

Much as it is the lot of those who write about music to heap effusive praise upon those who push boundaries, redefine genre, challenge conventional notions of popular music and all that bollocks (and much as this writer is given to those same failings), sometimes it takes a simple, beautiful record to stick its head out above the dross to remind you that music is about good songs. Nothing more, nothing less. Bells, whistles, and computer-generated effects count for nothing in the face of rhythm and melody. And Jess McAvoy's new release, Into the Dark, is exactly that record.
Released independently, Into the Dark is a collection of beautifully written, perfectly sung, heartfelt and straightforward songs about nothing so immense as world politics and global warming. Like Bob Evan's recent release, McAvoy's songs convey tales of suburban romance set to music that is gorgeous in its simplicity, McAvoy's rich, honeyed voice weaving stories of love and lust with the same wonderful joy de vivre.
Embellishments are few, but when they arrive they are never wasted, such as the glorious banjo that gives 'Take You In', with its middle-Australian vibe the kick it needs. Piano tinkles here and there, and electric guitar occasionally appears to lend character and volume. But it's 'See How I Go', with its extraordinary vocal melody during the chorus, that announces Jess McAvoy as the female singer-songwriter to look out for.
Aus music is awash with talented women at the moment: Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko, Clare Bowditch, Jen Cloher, Mia Dyson, Holly Throsby, Macromantics all producing music of genuine international quality (although Missy seemed to lose her way a little once success beckoned); but Jess McAvoy perhaps more than the others, makes music that speaks to everyday Australians with a clear and unwavering voice.

4 stars

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home