Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter

Like, Live, Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul | Barsuk
By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  February 20, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars

Jesse Sykes and her band conjure images of closing time at a dark tavern on a dusty street in a sleepy town. She’s the lonely singer at the end of the bar drinking whiskey and warning that “the tender heart will fool you so” while her mates strum and harmonize sympathetically nearby. The Seattle-based band are a collective of sorts headed by Sykes and former Whiskeytown guitarist Phil Wandscher. Their third album sticks to the Neil-Young-meets-Gram-Parsons folk rock of their first two but finds Sykes and Wandscher experimenting with rockier blues and psychedelia. In her weathered, whispery-thin vocals, Sykes confesses her fears even as she admonishes you to keep your distance. Her voice drips uncertainty, the music exudes confidence. On “You Might Walk Away” she sings about the fallible nature of relationships as twanging guitars, tripped-out organs, and vocal whoops collide; the result is danceable rather than tragic. “Aftermath,” one of several ballads, dips a toe into the jazz pool, and “LLL” has haunting harmonies about “happy times.” But don’t get too optimistic — Sykes reminds you, “Sometimes you have to kill the one you trust.”

Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter + Sparklehorse | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | February 26 | 617.931.2000

Related: A place of pure love, Going on sale: August 22, 2008, King of the hill, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Sparklehorse, Jesse Sykes, Phil Wandscher
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