Band: Joanne Juskus
Album: See Your Face
Best Element: Beautiful Vocals
Female vocalists: there can never be enough of them. Sure, Tom Waits might have a voice perfectly made for singing about dancing Cubans and drunk jockeys; sure, Black Francis might be able to scream about sex and mutilation. But sometimes it’s just not satisfying- sometimes we just need something softer and more, shall we say, feminine. Thankfully, we have artists like Feist, Eisley, Sleater-Kinney, and Norah Jones. Now we have another artist to add to that ever-growing list: Joanne Juskus.
Juskus’ debut album, See Your Face, is a journey in itself. From its more experimental tendencies to its spiritual leanings, See Your Face owns its own style and needs not borrow outside ideas. The albums opens with “Holy Man” and an almost Krishna Das-like chant- but don’t be quick to judge. Wait until she starts singing like a young Joni Mitchell.
One of my favorite things about this album is the variety of instrumentation present. You can find everything from hammered dulcimers to Indian slide guitars to a variety of percussion instruments. The wide range of percussive instrumentation is not surprising, considering Juskus’ past with the band Telesma, who blends “the ancient and modern in instrumentation and spirit”. Telesma seems to have rubbed off onto Juskus’ style. “Nothing” is a definite change in pace after the first five tracks, reminding me vaguely of Meredith Brooks, only not as angsty. It also features an amazing mandolin solo. However, this change is only temporary and the album reverts back to its slower pace after the track.
“Missing You” is a beautiful track, featuring only Juskus’ voice, her piano, and a violin. “Together Apart” is possibly the best track on the album and truly allows Juskus to set her beautiful voice on display (as if the rest of the tracks don’t already).
Joanne Juskus has succeeded in many aspects with the release of See Your Face. She has created an album so diverse that it cannot simply be heard and understood. There is a depth to every track, a reason for every rhythm, and a meaning behind everything. Be prepared to make some room on your Ipod- I think she just beat out Robert Pollard on mine. This is one woman that you should keep an eye out for.