Jessie Baylin Dark Place on LP
Some singers can create a mood far before the first syllables of the lyrics have been woven into a full story; a tone, mixed to dissolve perfectly into music, can say it all. Such is the case with Jessie Baylin, whose ethereal voice shoots the opening notes of Dark Place, her fourth album, into instant emotive territory – it envelops in a mysterious gauze, setting the stage for what is her most raw, personal work yet and also her most thrilling.
Baylin’s always been adept at capturing the fragile, complex state of human relationships with a hand that understands the middle ground – things aren't always what they seem, and she isn't afraid to play in that treacherous territory. She often weaves a forlorn lyric with an optimistic vocal lick, or a cheerier song with a foreboding crunch of guitar, looming like a distant thunderstorm; it sometimes makes it difficult to tell if a track is innately happy or sad, but that’s the point. Dark Place is the epitome of this dichotomy.
It’s the combination of elements on Dark Place that make it such a rattling look into not only Baylin's mind but the human condition: her voice, in its other-worldly tone that can be both angelic and deeply plaintive, cuts through poetic lyrics with throbbing guitars that carve scratches at the beautiful surface, bounding free of both classification and genre. She’s Nico, if she could sing like Nina Simone; she’s Dusty Springfield fronting Mazzy Star. “Dusty,” she says, before adding, “on Quaaludes.”
Of her collaboration with producer Richard Swift, Baylin comments, “During the making of Little Spark, I first met Richard Swift and with him there was instant trust and chemistry. He was the first person who I felt saw me as an artist and he wasn’t expecting anything except for me to be myself.” Their relationship continued with the making of the Pleasure Center EP, released in November of 2011, and also marked the beginning of mapping out the next album. “In recording Dark Place we immediately understood the direction this album was going to undertake,” Baylin concludes.
Dark Place follows Baylin’s critically acclaimed 2012 release, Little Spark, of which NPR’s All Things Considered praised, “…evokes a sound you might have heard 40 years ago, piercing through the static of your AM radio. The big string sections and angelic choruses are all there, echoing the hallmarks of classic orchestral pop,” while Rolling Stone asserted, “…both seductive and distant, as if she’s singing across miles of echo and doubt. This is an album of potent moods.”
Jessie Baylin Dark Place Track Listing:
1. Creepers (Young Love)
2. To Hell And Back
3. Black Blood
4. White Noise
5. Kiss Your Face
6. All That I Can Do
7. The Ringer
8. London Time
10. Dark Place
11. Do You Wanna Dance