Nathan and Jessie deceptively move between thick country blues, gypsy folk and multiple languages across their new album ‘You’re The Star’. Oh – and they do a left turn into jazz and bossa nova with a quick pitstop on lounge music. It’s an unusual album that whilst not entirely hitting my usual musical tastes, left me impressed with their musical prowess.
Highlights for me are the funky bossa nova flow of ‘Chiquita’ with its lush vocals and guitar solos, the French brushed blues of ‘I’ve Already Got Me a Man’, the Iberian acoustic folk of ‘Maria’ and the 50’s rock of ‘No More Second Guesses’. Almost all of the 14 tracks are over in around two and half minutes so if a certain vibe doesn’t gel with you, it’s a quick shift onto the next. Both Nathan and Jessie’s voices compliment each other beautifully too. Where the golden moments of the album lie are in the lazy afterglow moments that often occur between lines. There is such a natural out-breath and relaxed feel across the entire album, it’s like sinking into a fresh duvet.
Elsewhere, fingerpicking banjo folk ditties like ‘Sailer Song’ and the minimalist ‘How Do You Do You’ feel so brief and lightweight they could be b-sides. Other tracks feel like Disney Peggy Lee offcuts such as ‘A History of Lost Art’, the accordion folk of the title track and the cute ‘Minutia’. When making tightly focused two-minute tracks, it is important to have a memorable hook and occasionally the album or a progression to build on and Nathan and Jessie do the latter really well. That means that whilst the song is playing – you’re in it. It does mean that occasionally you’ll finish a song with a flurry and then think immediately… ‘how did that go?’
What Nathan and Jessie absolutely bring to the table is joy and style. In a world busy smashing in as much technical prowess and distortion as possible, there is something refreshingly retro as the Parisian folk roots here. This is an album for those that was a brief trip down memory lane with brie, skipping ropes and a jazz bar.
Recommended track: Chiquita
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