As an album, We Need to Talk is probably the closest musical equivalent to a Sunday morning in and a cup of tea I can think of. From the first track there’s a quietening quality that’s pretty hard to shake.
As a classically trained musician, Jessica Venables – front woman of Jessica Says – bends her talents to her creative will and presents an album that follows in the tracks of some of our more innovative singer-songwriters.
Having leant her skills in the past to home grown lo-fi hero New Buffalo a.k.a Sally Seltmann, it’s nice to see the creative exchange come to fruition in I’ll Set The Night Upon You, where Seltmann guest appears for vocal harmonies.
In terms of the overall arrangement of the record, it’s hard not to think that Jessica’s musical talent in some ways outshines her voice. Taking influence from artists such as New Buffalo it’d be hard not to follow the same fluttering vocal melodies that lead here, there and everywhere, though I found myself thinking Jessica was at her best in the lower register of track one, The Sleeping One Beside Me.
On this track, there’s a fragility to Jessica’s voice that underlies her surety – “nothings going to shake me now” – and makes her vulnerable, an intimacy not revealed on tracks that follow.
For this reason, I found a lot of the album fairly indistinguishable. The cello arrangements lay the groundwork for a great deal of potential that I feel wasn’t followed up for any greater use. The album seems to meander, even after some rather promising opening tracks, and to be honest left me slightly on the disappointed side.
Nevertheless, We Need to Talk is still a perfect album when complemented with a semi-productive day in, or a few quiet ones with some mates at home. It’s definitely more a background album than a centrepiece, if only because it lacks the strength to stand on more honest ground. Still enjoyable enough though.