I’ve enjoyed the writings and podcasts of Merlin Mann for some time now, and his affinity for obscure bands has lead me to more than one great sound. Consequently, I’ve been a bit more interested in discovering new sounds on my own.
Jessica does a great job of selecting the elements of the song that she wants to stand out, building those elements elaborately, and leaving the rest of the orchestration as a simple, consistent, undergirding foundation. Jessica’s strengths are her lyrics, her voice, and her intelligent selection and orchestration of simple instrumental progressions. She doesn’t try to be a full band, and her music would lose it’s magic if she did.
The lyrics are refreshingly genuine. You feel like you’re right there in the cryptic stories that are woven, the imaginary life, if you will.
Train is a strong piece that exemplifies this lyric style. Have you ever sat on a bus, a train, or in the passenger seat of a car, looking out the window, watching the trees, cars, fences, houses, and scenery rush by, and you begin to sink into this hypnotic state of thought, that’s almost like a deep, poignant conversation with yourself, so vivid that you can practically hear your own voice in your head?
Yeah, it’s like that.
My Imaginary Life has some unusual but effective instrument, effects, and vocal choices throughout pretty much every song, each unique in it’s own rite. The toy piano sounds and whispey vocals in Goodbye are beautiful and mysterious. Desert, with it’s dirty guitar distortion and hallway vocal reverberation, has a wonderful nostalgic quality to it, and the vocal tones are very expressive. Jukebox Melody has fast, gutsy lyrics; hard to pull off, and done very well.
This small-budget album reminds me of the beginnings of Beck. With an unusual approach to basic, low-cost tools, together with unique words and vocal melody, My Imaginary Life reminds us that you don’t have to spend a fortune, or be backed by a fortune, to produce great music.