For her third release, Like Love, Lust and The Open Halls of the Soul, Seattle’s singer-songwriter Jesse Sykes moves away from the county-noir sounds that dominated her first two releases towards a more pop arraignment.
That’s not to say that Sykes all of a sudden found jangly guitars and hook laden riffs or that she sped up her sound. No, indeed, Like Love... continues Sykes’ penchant for keeping the pace of her albums on a dirge like march. This is the perfect album to put on after your house party is winding down and all that’s left are a few of your closest friends. You sit talking; solving the world’s problems while Like Love... drifts you off to that warm peaceful place allowing your mind to wander from topic to topic.
The gentle reflections of “Eisenhower Moon” open the album with a soft harmonica bridging the gap from the start to Sykes husky voice – “Is this still a good place to be/If it feels the same, how will we know/If it’s breaking down/If it’s breaking down.” That’s exactly the type of lyric that will kick start a 3 a.m. post-party conversation. Lyrically continuing on the same path, I have one fear for Sykes. I think her lyrics are almost “too smart” for the average listener.
In no way do I think she should change, but I fear that she will always remain a cult type figure in the vein of Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers fame or a Mark Lanegan from The Screeming Trees. “I want to watch you draw infinity/Listen to you/While you’re listening to me” from “I Like the Sound” is not your typical radio or consumer friendly lyrical rumination and Like Love... is chock full of such gems.