Jessie Kilguss recently released “The Master,” a song from her forthcoming album, entitled The Fastness, which drops June 1. The multi-talented Kilguss includes both acting and music in her repertoire. Seen in The Crucible with Daniel Day-Lewis, and As You Like It, she decided to pursue music after appearing with Marianne Faithful in The Black Rider.
On The Fastness, Kilguss (vocals, harmonium) is backed by Kirk Shoenherr (guitar), John Kengla (bass), and Rob Heath (drums). Backup vocals feature the talents of Susan Hwang, Leslie Graves, and Julie DeLano.
“The Master,” which I previously reviewed (and liked), exudes a grungy psychedelic pop feel. On one level, it’s a simple tune; on another level, when the vocal harmonies join in, the tune assumes a spell-binding dynamism.
Personal favorites on the album include “Strangers,” an alt-rock number with country-pop flavors. The retro vocal harmonies – “do-do-do” – imbue the tune with a bubbly pop effervescence that’s infectiously upbeat. “Dark Corners of Your Mind” rides a powerful bassline, as delicately ringing guitars float overhead. Kilguss’ voice takes on an ethereal quality on this song, sighing and dreamy.
“Bridge the Divide” features a driving beat as well as luminous harmonies. There’s an alt-country tinge to the tune, providing it with scrumptious residual energy, like Joni Mitchell amped on stimulants. “What Is It You Want from Me” reminds me of Chris Isaak, with a dark pensive texture and scintillating, reflective colors. This may be the best song on the album.
Kilguss’ voice is elegant and creamy simultaneously, with gossamer filaments of mystical timbres running through it.
The Fastness is artfully beautiful, full of radiant harmonics, stylish rhythms, and Jessie Kilguss’ enchantress-like tones. Imaginative and numinous, it’s just different enough to command attention, especially if you’re tired of the sameness currently pervading much of today’s music.