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Album review

Jessica Sligter 

The Fear And The Framing

added: 1 Dec 2012 // release date: 3 Dec 2012 // label: Hubro
reviewer: Andy Snipper

Jessica Sligter - The Fear And The Framing - Printable version
There isn’t a single moment of this album that is easy or that doesn’t contain an edge of disquiet. Even when she is in a relatively ‘normal’ vein there is still an underlying sense that she could be falling off the cliff of sanity all too easily. 40 minutes of sheer brilliance but don’t look after your shoulder afterwards.

Recorded with friends in Oslo, Bergen and Amsterdam, the music touches on jazz and folk but there are numbers like ‘If That Was Crooked, This is Straight’ that almost defy notions of ‘music’ in the discordant howl of foghorns and cellos – you can’t dance to it but you cannot try and avoid it either. Opener, ‘Man Who Scares Me’, and ‘Fear (Holland 2011)’ both show Sligter’s voice off to its best - she has a warm and tuneful tone – but the subject matter and the playing underpin her vocal with an extreme sense of unease; the guitar assault and the caterwauling choir on ‘Fear...’ really set the hairs on the back of your neck at their highpoints.
‘The Perfect Vessel’ in any other setting could be a lovely song but the subject matter soon devolves into an acceptance of impending insanity and destruction. The close miking of her guitar seems to create space behind her vocal and the result is almost Hitchcockian.

‘Cuckoo’ starts with a dark noise and a heavy bass line and creates a feeling of lostness as her voice emerges while ‘Fuck etc’ is about anything other than sexuality – more the ease of not being a sexual person.
‘Pricklet’ sees Ms Sligter in the character of the dominatrix in a relationship, a great piece of garage rock while the closer ‘Fall, Here’ is the closest thing here to a love song – a dreamy quality and a comfortable monotony.

One of the least comfortable experiences I have had this year and brilliant from start to end – it really is a joy to know that there are still musicians prepared to explore and live the difficult side of their art.


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5 stars

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