Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Jessica Stuart Few: "Two Sides To Every Story" (album review)

It's hard to put a label on Toronto's Jessica Stuart Few.  Folk would be the closest, but that fails to convey the breadth of sounds and styles to be found on their forthcoming record Two Sides To Every Story (out March 12th).

Playing with song structures is Stuart's trademark.  The unconventional cadence on the jazzy title track lend it a distinctive vibe.  Tempo shifts add spark to the lounge-based "Heart Map".

Because of the structural tweaking a lot of comparisons have been drawn between Stuart and the critically-acclaimed Joanna Newsom.  And for good reason.  Tracks like "Intone", "At My Window", and "Talk About It" share Newsom's slant towards meandering experimentals that verge on the medieval.  That's not my bag, but the style has no shortage of admirers.

The hushed opener "Walking the Line" is as close as Stuart comes to delivering a traditional folk song.  Soon enough we're given the warm skiffle-y "Don't Ya", and the koto-plucking (do you pluck or strum a koto?) Eurythmics cover "Here Comes the Rain".

If you like your folk music slightly off-kilter and slightly out of the ordinary, then a date with the Jessica Stuart Few is definitely in order.

Jessica Stuart Few play an album release show at the Cameron House on Mar. 15th and Placebo Space on Mar. 29th.

Best tracks: "Don't Ya", "Two Sides To Every Story"

Track listing for Two Sides To Every Story:
  • Walking The Line
  • Don't Ya
  • Winter Warm
  • Here Comes the Rain
  • Intone
  • Two Sides To Every Story
  • Heart Map
  • Talk About It
  • Grass Is Greener
  • At My Window

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