There’s truly something to be said about artists that can stop you in your tracks with a few simple elements, and the Shropshire-born Jessie Reid is one of those artists. With her percussive fingerstyle guitar at the forefront and often the sole component of the instrumentation, her captivating voice expertly weaves together a wealth of musical themes, exploring shades of singer-songwriter, folk and alternative rock for a sound reminiscent of the heartstring-pulling delights of the likes of Ben Howard and Nick Mulvey.
Not to imply her music solely recalls the works of other artists and more that it imbues the same sense of emotionally wrought harmony, Reid’s fourth single of the year, “Wake Up” bears a loose sonic similarity with another, Elliot Smith, in both it’s pensive instrumentation and exasperated vocal timbre.
Each meticulously placed syllable wholly owns your attention, with Reid outlining in an email statement that, “I suppose the song is best summarised by the line ’the harder we try, the closer we get to goodbye’. It attempts to recapture some of the frustrations of unsuccessfully trying to fix a relationship. In a way the lyrics represent what I would have said to myself at that moment in time and telling myself to ‘wake up’ to the reality of the situation.”
The signature guitar style that introduces the track performs akin to an overture, with eery textures broadening the rapturous atmosphere. Her softly hazy voice sweeps in with understated force, swiftly becoming doubled to further compound the chilling ambience. The steadfast guitar maintains a sense of rhythm with the unfolding melodies driving the track further down its beguiling lyrical path.
The chorus offers a haunting, yet addictive hook and the rhythm evolves with it. Further unfurling for the second verse, additional textures and vocal harmonies keep it moving, and in advance of the final chorus ensnaring your mind for the final time, the track unexpectedly shifts gears into a rock-tinged instrumental precursor led by muted strums and pinched harmonies. “There is a sense of anger in the song in some kind of way and I think this is mirrored in the build up towards the end of the song with the heavier use of electronic instrumentation which is something I don’t usually do!”
Those elements then dissolve into that aforementioned chorus, with newly added strings sustaining to conclude the track with tender aplomb.
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