File under: Indie, Americana, Folk.
Jessica’s Brother is the eponymous debut album from London trio Jessica’s Brother, comprised of songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm ( The Wave Pictures) and Charlie Higgs (Ramshackle Union Band). Channelling the spirit of the Brothers Grimm to create an otherworldly atmosphere, they weave their motley influences together making a rich and eclectic vision, with nods to Silver Jews, Jason Molina, Nick Cave, Richard Thompson and Neil Young. There are themes of joy, anger and silliness in a carefully crafted world with a colourful cast of characters. The trio formed in October 2016. Jonny and Charlie worked together in a framing business and had often talked about collaborating in a band together. Fate intervened when Jonny’s girlfriend Jessica introduced him to her brother Tom, and they found a songwriter in waiting. The trio clicked immediately and just nine months later they recorded the album with Laurie Sherman with input from Darren Hayman. A few other friends joined them including Dan Mayfield (Enderby’s Room), who added a dose of Bad Seeds/Dirty Three vibes on the violin and Paul Rains (Allo Darlin’/Tigercats) on guitar. With Jessica’s Brother, we see Tom Charleston’s songwriting blossoming in to a tour de force. Influenced more by poets than other musicians, he cites John Ashbery, T.S. Eliot and Philip Larkin as inspirations. His modestly lofty ambitions have paid off, with ten startling individual vignettes telling their own stories from a variety of narrator’s points of view. He tackles difficult subjects such as gender equality and the destructive nature of masculinity. These can be seen in tracks such as “One Of The Guys”, about the toxic nature of being one of the guys in a predatory pack, lamenting the masculine essentialism owned and largely perpetuated by the male sex. The single “Overnight Horror” revolves around the macho-masculine nightmare where, as Charleston explains, “the world has gone head-over-heels shitward and the narrator is reduced to selling his daughter or his wife to stay alive.”All The Better”, is a hushed, eerie folk song exploring the melancholy and optimism of breaching adolescence and the limbo before adulthood; a simple tale of growing up. “Humdinger” is perhaps the one song on the album where the narrator is at ease with himself and the world. Though there are moments where this tranquility is nudged by outside tremors, so we know this moment is ephemeral. Weaving a variety of influences from jangly indie-rock to gothic country and contemplative psych folk, Jessica’s Brother create the sound of a band coming together and getting caught up in the rush of starting new and enjoyable. Already lauded by the likes of The Guardian and the Saatchi Magazine the scene is set for a bright future.
“Jessica’s Brother’s shambling nerdcore is clearly a passion project intended to please only themselves. Good for them…A jingling rush that would have headed John Peel’s Festive 50 in another life.” The Guardian
“A band to fall in love with… there is no derivative pastiche or homage here. It all feels right, and, as with the best bands, they make it sound new.” Saatchi Magazine
A1) Getting Obscene A2) All the Better A3) One of the Guys A4) Dylan A5) Humdinger
B1) Overnight Horror B2) Come Around B3) Hare B4) Lulu Walls B5) Cold, White and Blue Day