Welp, I’ve perfected making homemade tofu curry. The homemade cherry pie could use some work but the Funfetti cupcakes I’ve been making on an almost weekly basis help me cope with the disappointment that has been my cherry pies. What I’m trying to say is that I have gone absolutely insane. The disappearance of concerts made me realize just how much time I spend at them and while trying to cope with that discovery, the pile of CD’s to review on my desk seems to be almost a daunting task because I know it will just make me crave a show even more than I already do. That being said, I needed a distraction this morning so after making an epic Sunday morning breakfast and with my fourth cup of coffee brewing in the kitchen, I reached into my stack and pulled out ‘Serotinous Skin’ by Gambler’s Daughter. Whether it made me miss live shows more than I already do or not, I needed something new to listen to so I jumped right in, head first.
“Red Flags” kicks this album off with a captivating sound. Solid drums and an almost psychedlic sounding keyboard prelude to Jessa Roquet’s voice that would quickly become a highlight of this album. I was instantly struck by Jessa’s voice. There something in it that makes me want to say she was classically trained but there is also something just so organic that it’s hard to not just call it one of the most talented and unique voices I’ve heard in awhile. There’s a grit in her voice that draws you in with ease. That grit is followed up by pure beauty and I was excited to see if this would be an ongoing theme on this ten song album.
Second up on the album is “Spill”. This song brings the tempo down a little bit but there’s still that grit that I fell in love with in “Red Flags” that keeps this feeling almost as upbeat as it is beautiful. I think I was so captivated by the unfamiliar voice in “Red Flags” that I didn’t even realize just how much a storyteller Jessa is but that comes through loud and clear on “Spill”. There’s clear folk tendencies that come out in this song that make it an easy listen and instantly a favorite of mine. “Spill” fades away with a sense of calm but is followed up by strong guitars that kick off “Tightrope in the Dark”. The stark switch in the style of these two songs was definitely startling and surprising but it was also perfect and I instantly heard Gambler’s Daughter go from this indie pop songstress to a dark, more grity rock n’ roll queen with no hesitation. There’s a new found darkness in Jessa’s voice throughout this song that is painfully beautiful while being absolutely heartbreaking and almost defeated at times. The way Jessa is able to convey certain words just by the way she sings them is absolutely a reason to pay attention to his wonderful woman.
Just when I was getting used to the rock n’ roll side of Gambler’s Daughter, the album moved to “Calamity” which instantly brought things back down to earth with a sense of calm and zen. With an almost atmospheric background, this sound may have not been what I wanted for my Sunday morning because I had so much to do around the house but it was everything I needed. We are living in uncertain times, swimming through uncharted waters, and “Calamity” is the perfect song to help bring you back down when you start to get lost in your head over everything going on right now. This will definitely be a song I will bookmark and surely use as this stay at home order continues and I continue to get more and more lost in my own head and thoughts.
“Lying Sweetly” expands on the calmness of “Calamity” with a little bit more energy instead of more zen. The title of this song really exaplins it all because I can’t describe this song to you without constantly using the word “sweet” or a form of it. The song builds and flows with a sense of ease all while Jessa’s voice remains a constant stream of emotion. I think I’ve called almost every song on this album thus far “beautiful” but I would be remiss if I didn’t do the same for this one or “13 Feet Tall” which is next up. “13 Feet Tall” has a more daydream vibe about it that I absolutely loved. Simple and light instrumentation behind Jessa’s voice made this one of those songs that had my mind wandering to all of the best places. Think carousel in the middle of a gorgeous park. That’s where this song took me and I honestly didn’t want to leave as the album moved on to “Remember”.
Things turn a little bit to the darker side as “Remember” kicks in. The happy go lucky and whimsical vibe that was laid out in “13 Feet Tall” turns a little darker. There’s something painful about Jessa’s voice in “Remember” but that doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful. I can not stress enough about the abililty Jessa has to convey feelings in her words and vocal stylings. It’s truly impressive and, at times throughout this album, has left me lost for words. The darkness switches again as “Indigo Blue” takes over my speakers and I’m introduced to yet another side of this talented woman. “Indigo Blue” has an almost jazzy vibe about it while keeping with the indie-pop powerful songstress elements that had been layed out in the previous songs. Jessa’s voice dances effortlessly over the notes of the various musicians in this song with a sense of ease that may vocalists may only ever dream of.
“Therapy” is the song that I would suggest you listen to if you only have time to listen to one track. I’m not saying that because it’s my favorite, I’m saying that because Jessa’s vocal ability is heard loud and clear in this quick song and you really get a sense of the range that she can provide. Even though this song is the only song on the album that Jessa didn’t write the lyrics for (“Therapy” lyrics are written by Nayyirah Waheed), you can feel that Jessa means every word she is singing and performs each of those words with a sense of beauty, power, and conviction that will leave you speechless.
‘Serotinous Skin’ closes out with the title track. I was expecting something slow and smooth so I was a little shocked as the song comes in with a distinctive beat and almost bluesy vibe to it. I loved it. Last song on this album and I thought I had heard it all but Jessa had one more surprise in the bag and I’m glad she saved it for this last song. It’s the type of song that leaves you wanting so much more and, with the way it stops suddently, it almost forces you to go back and start this album all over but I promise, you won’t be complaining about taking this journey for a second time.
If you’re like me and you’re getting restless and quite possibly going insane as you turn into a modern day Martha Stewart (or that’s what you’re trying to convince yourself), jump into a new album and/or a new artist. I was reluctant and honestly wasn’t feeling it this morning but, after listening to ‘Serotinous Skin’ by Gambler’s Daughter, I’m feeling a whole new sense of life in my and I’m ready to tackle today no matter how boring and lonely it may get.
My Favorite Track(s): “Spill”; “13 Feet Tall”
For Fans Of: Emotions; Unpredictable Changes In Musical Vibes; Wonderment
Daydream-ability: 7.9 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie yelled from the kitchen because Autumn ate his breakfast; Autumn slept on my bed surely hiding from her brother’s wrath
My Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5
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