Release Date: Aug 2, 2011
Record label: Fargo
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Country-Rock
It’s 1969. A sun is setting on a summer of love. War, children, it’s just a shot away. A generation fightin’ in the streets, a generation fightin’ in a foreign land. Good Mornin’ Vietnam! A knock on the door at 10050 Cielo Drive. Brian, Rocky, Jack ‘n’ Judy, burn out, RIP. The Fab ….
Marble Son is the fourth album from Seattle outfit Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, and it signals something of a departure from the sparser alt-country of its predecessors. It’s a record that takes the band into heavier, guitar-laden territory while retaining sufficient light and shade to stand out as refreshingly different. “Hushed By Devotion” is a lovely, long track to get proceedings underway.
On the excellent Like, Love, Lust & the Open Halls of the Soul, Jesse Skyes & the Sweet Hereafter blended panoramic country-rock soundscapes with guitarist Phil Wandscher's Jerry Garcia-esque, psychedelia-splashed riffs and Sykes' own mature-beyond-her-years Karen Dalton-meets-Nina Simone tones. However, the long-awaited follow-up album, Marble Son, injects a bit more grit into the equation. During the four-year gap between the two albums, the group spent time consorting with the heavy-psych likes of Black Mountain, which seems to have had an effect on the Sweet Hereafter's sound.
Phil Wandscher doesn't get top billing in Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, but the former Whiskeytown guitar player is by far the most prominent presence on the band's fourth full-length, Marble Son. Upstaging Sykes is difficult: The Seattle-based singer possesses a distinctive voice with the eloquent grain of a young Marianne Faithfull, but with a tendency to strain toward certain notes that suggests a barely contained emotional distress. She haunts the band's first two albums, 2002's Reckless Burning and 2004's Oh, My Girl, which both retrofitted 1990s alt-country influences to a darker Americana.
Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter Psychedelia as communal creation, psychedelia as mystical quest, psychedelia as a roiling tangle and psychedelia as a euphoric, entranced sprawl are all encompassed in the music of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, whose 21st-century album release dates always ….