Thursday, 13 February 2014

Album Review - Obsidian

by Jessie Frye (out now)

At the very end of 2013, I stumbled upon a review of Jessie Frye's song 'Dear' on The Wall Street Journal's music blog. Now, I didn't even know The Wall Street Journal had a music blog, but I'm really glad they do. "Slow motion lover, we die with no last words, here I am grieving you tonight." One listen of Frye's passionate rock track and I was hooked. The voice, the words, the guitar solo... Yes, this introduction to the Denton, Texas artist and her band definitely left me thankful to The Wall Street Journal and that's something I never thought I'd say in this lifetime. This week saw the release of the debut album, Obsidian, and it is quite the unforgettable ride.

Obsidian shows an artist unafraid of taking a risk or two by dipping into different genres and styles. Frye has a remarkable way of not just wearing many hats on the album, but wearing them and owning them. To take this metaphor a step further, let's say that Frye would be able to pull off that hat Pharrell Williams wore to the Grammy Awards. 'Dear' has all the attitude you could want in a bonafide rock star and then some. It's got the big hooks, loud guitars and heavy drums that will get you ready for a rowdy night on the town. Contrast that with the track that immediately follows, the piano ballad 'Sabotage'. The simple tune, combined with some emotive and moody vocal work, tugs at your heartstrings. The one-two punch of 'Dear' and 'Sabotage' is the best example of how talented and versatile Jessie Frye is, both as a vocalist and songwriter. They're polar opposites, yet they sit so comfortably next to each other on the album.

'Teenage Luck' has a beautiful meloncholy to the music, but the words are going to break your heart, no doubt about it. "If this world can't save me now, nothing ever will, you've been getting off way to long, loving in this hell." It's definitely a deep album closer and I've said it before (and I'll say it again), albums that end with a powerful, memorable ballad are the best. These quieter moments are well spaced out and you can tell the Obsidian track placements were carefully considered because the ballads don't get lost amongst the more energetic uptempo numbers. 'White Heat' is one of the most exciting moments, walking an electronic-pop-rock tightrope to perfection. This is the song you'll get up and start dancing to each time the build to the chorus begins. You know how you listen to some songs and know they would be perfect for radio? 'White Heat' is one of those songs.

On the strength of an album like Obsidian, Jessie Frye is sure to have an incredible 2014. I've got a feeling this album is going to spread from her native Texas through the USA like wildfire and then, hopefully, over to Australia. Because I think the only thing that will top listening to Obsidian is seeing it performed live! This is a stellar debut LP from a stunning talent and well worth a listen, music fans. And hey, you can get it as a digital download for $9 on Bandcamp. Given the quality of the music, that's a steal.   

Matt Bond gives Obsidian four Shirley Manson heads out of five...

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