Bringing yet further proof that reality TV does not and seemingly cannot discover the most essential talent and enterprising artists, the Painted Faces EP introduces us to an organic artist who needs no effects, falsehoods, and manipulations to ignite the emotions and imagination with true individual invention. The creator of the EP is Devon indie-folk singer songwriter Jess McAllister, a musician and writer who does everything instinctively and from the heart, like so many other underground aural inciters, and with a craft and imagination which only shows up the blandness which the controlling media and hierarchy would have us devour. The four track release is an enterprising and stirring slice of creative evocation lyrically and musically, the kind of thrilling temptation which can only help swing mass attention towards where all the unique talent rewards dwell.
McAllister took her early steps playing the pub folk circuit in her home town of Plymouth before becoming part of and writing with a reggae band whilst at Exeter University. Pursuing her own ideas and musical direction from there it was the birth of her son which opened up her thoughts and artistry to bring further enrichment and emotional understanding to her music. Continuing to play intimate gigs around Devon, the lady has brewed a strong and potent following to her striking and all-embracing sounds, a bewitchment of audiences that you sense will be able to stretch its enchanting much further afield from the impressive entrance of Painted Faces, an expansion which has already started with her recent jaunt around the UK with Belfast based Alt-Folk band The Emerald Armada on their tour.
Recorded with and produced by Dan Smith and featuring many impressive guest performances, Painted Faces and McAllister take little time in engrossing attention and thoughts as opener Take A Walk slowly unveils its charms. Absorbing vocal harmonies astride dramatic keys coax the ears first, the rich temptation enthralling and deepening g as the cello of Dury Loveridge and violin of John Matthias lay their emotive caresses across the senses. The tones of McAllister are ripe with reflection and emotion but also come with an almost mischievous smile which radiates from within the melancholic yet vibrant croon. The song glides and sways over the ears, its aural seduction and lyrical narrative transfixing aligned to great cello groans and potent piano suasion.
It is a magnetic and powerful start soon left a little in the shade by the following title track. A piano sculpted canvas again brings the song into view, its picturesque hues waiting little time before McAllister joins in with again her character laden melodic tones. Like its predecessor, the song adds weaves of drama from the keys and cello to its crafty design, little explosions of busy and throaty adventure adding shade to the radiance being cast by voice and keys. Simply sirenesque in its distinctive way, the song craves and receives even deeper submission for its wonderful call, Damien Scarr’s double bass devilry adding increasing bait alongside the continually evolving inventive and imagination drenched enterprise. Like a mix of Holly Walker and Gabby Young playing with some of the irrepressible revelry of The BeauBowBelles, the track is nothing short of creative seduction.
Shadows In The Night opens on a piano created melody and tease, a call coming with familiarity but escaping detection of the reason why. It beckons in the imagination with ease as the reserved but certain revelry of the mandolin provided by Mat Norman dance with the ever appealing vocals and harmonies cast by McAllister to accentuate the song’s thrilling toxicity. With an essence of the Mediterranean to its swirling melodic skirt and reassuring understanding to the lyrical intimate drama being played out and addressed, the track is yet one more intricate and infectious gentle flight of suggestive elegance.
Never Mind Buying Time closes up the EP and unsurprisingly, given the quality of its predecessors, expectations were poised for something just as lyrically lively and evocative within a captivating was of poetic sounds. The track does not leave them or the already greedy appetite wanting, it’s tender fascination an impossibly engaging breeze of dark and light infused melodic excellence honed by an intensive and undeniably blessed imagination. It impressively finishes off a quite wonderful entrance from Jess McAllister, an artist you can expect to hear a lot more of if luck and justice prevails alongside her talent and potent songwriting.
With the Painted Faces EP available as a buy now name your piece release @ http://jessmcallister.bandcamp.com/album/painted-faces-3 you really should not still be here…
Upcoming Live Dates:
13th February – B-Bar, Plymouth
17th February – Songsmiths Night @ Mr Wolfs, Bristol
18th February – The Abbey, Kentish Town
19th February – The Dublin Castle, Camden
28th February – The Barrel House, Totnes
1st March – Real Food Cafe, Exeter
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