Album Review: Jessica’s ‘The Space Between’ is an immersive masterpiece of haunting dream pop


The Breakdown

'The Space Between' as a whole is impossibly beautiful - quiet, reflecting vignettes filled with a haunting sadness and an aura that could only be described as spiritual.
Independent 8.7

Backseat Mafia had the pleasure of premiering the track ‘Silence’ from Sydney artist Jessica last week which lead inexorably to listening to the source album ‘The Space Between’.

And what a completely immersive and enthralling journey this album is.

‘The Space Between’ as a whole is impossibly beautiful – quiet, reflecting vignettes filled with a haunting sadness and an aura that could only be described as spiritual. This is a branch of dream pop that brushes against a folk sensibility – minimal if any percussion and instrumentation that floats like clouds supporting the sublime vocals. It is one of those albums that is a presence in itself – eleven tracks that forms one whole atmospheric cloak made from sweeping strings and gentle guitars.

Opening track ‘Has It Comes to This’ stuns with Jessica’s vocals ringing with the clarity and purity of expression last heard in Dusty Springfield’s voice – soft and yearning over the simple acoustic guitar picking with a range that is wider than the Pacific Ocean and just as enveloping.

The sweeping strings in ‘Go And Make Your Peace’ adds a haunting refrain as do the vocal harmonies – there is the unrestrained power of Nick Cave’s Ghosteen that seems rooted in the deepest tragedy and gives such emotional force.

The ghostly theme that forms a golden thread throughout the album continues in ‘Apparition’ – there is a presence that is other worldly both in the sounds and themes. Jessica’s voice is again just stunning – soaked in emotion and sensuality. There is almost a jazz-like flow to the melody, and certainly a bluesy envelope. The backing vocals echo like a ghostly presence behind the emotional naked and exposed vocals.

Reverb and walls of vocal harmonies feature in ‘The Weakening’ with its quiet and sombre tones that ends in haunting whispering.

I premiered ‘Silence’ last week and wrote there is a hint of a lament – elegiac in tone – that brings forth images of darkened cathedrals with vaulted ceilings and flickering candle light. Reverb soaks through the song like a shroud. Indeed, Jessica says track is:

about grief, about endings and about how memories are usually silent

The video is fittingly dreamy and mysterious – as mesmerising as the song with a deeply spiritual element filled with yearning and melancholia.

Antithetically, ‘The Cooling’ is brighter in tone and following tracks maintain their own distinctive voice while sharing an evocative and haunting presence – more loose frame jazz-inflected tones in ‘Strangers’ and celestial melodies in ‘Pictures’ where the Springfield comparisons against spring to mind. Regret and loss form a strong theme.

‘Womb Tomb’ appears to touche on more tangible themes about choice and empowerment – do you have the right to know what’s right for me – with ghostly choirs in the distance while ‘The Bridge’ is a dreamy, ghostly track – we’re all just passing through – on the transience of existence.

Final and title track gently sweeps us out of the album with a rolling mournfully elegiac track – poised and gentle.

‘The Space Between’ could be seen as a concept album – a meditation on grief, loss and spirituality. The transience of life and the immutable nature of nature and spirituality weave in and out of the songs, seeped in sadness and draped in enigma. Utterly imposing, statuesque and beautiful.

‘The Space Between’ can be downloaded through the link below.

Jessica is part of the duo Jep and Dep and her partner in crime, Darren Cross, has had some input into the album, co-writing ‘Silence’. Otherwise, Jessica has written the material and played most of the instruments on her new album.

You can catch Jessica live in March at the following places supporting DC Cross/Gerling:

Sunday 21st March, Lalala’s Wollongong

Sunday 28th March, Highway Bikini, Enmore

Full details and ticketing can be accessed here.

Feature Photograph; Darren Cross (Bernstein Studios)

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