Jessica Bailiff - Feels Like Home [Kranky - 2006]Feels like home is the fourth album by Toledo based singer songwriter Jessica Bailiff, her other three albums have also been released by Kranky.
The cover art, a black and white picture of a doll sitting in a toy cart provides a suitable metaphor for the music within, delicate melancholic laments and folk melodies bringing to mind quieter times and personal journeys.
The album begins with simple piano chords which jump unexpectedly to strummed guitar. Bailiff sings the title of the song whatís inside your mind with a mix of breathy exuberance and backing vocals.
Lakeside Blues is mostly played on guitar and is a wonderful folk lament with acoustic guitar melody and distant recorder. Itís sedate and autumnal.
The albums three central tracks Cinq, Spiral dream and evidence all make use of editing effects and tricks of the mixing desk to weave an atmosphere of dreamlike ambience and remembrance. Piano is the main instrument on the first track with the simple chords and notes swirling around as electric bass and guitar are combined with Russian spoken word courteousy of Nelly Josephine and Iulia. These tracks move Bailiffs sound out of new folk and into an almost baroque classical mood.
Evidence and Pressing both have a lovely guitar riff that Michael Cashmore of Current 93 would be proud of, and a popish chorus that recalls another C93 collaborator Rose Mcdowall. Bailiffs voice occasionally does recall some of Mcdowalls work in Strawberry Switchblade.
If we could is my favourite of the material here, dense droning feedback and whispered processed vocals that further enhance the feeling that the album is very much about dreaming and childlike words of imagination.
My only gripe with this record is that itís only half an hour long!! Yet itís advertised as a full album.Duncan Simpson