Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter

Oh, My Girl

Sykes—in her mid-20s—is making rock ’n’ roll into a quiet thing all her own. Her remarkable voice, style and presence inhabit these songs—all of which she wrote or co-wrote—with an echoing, languid foreboding. Her beautiful, poignant-at-the-right moments, dusky alto/soprano creates a seamless fusion of lyric and voice. Phil Wandscher’s spare, waltzing guitar and occasional harmonium are perfect foils for her voice. Add viola, upright bass and drums and you get a complex reductionism, a la Ennio Morricone, that is downright spooky. Aching-heart ballads, haunted and haunting, riveting and intense. Jesse Sykes’ seductive, hypnotic vocals are laid back, ethereal and laced with a foreboding that has been called “cosmic American music.” Her understanding of loneliness as a dreamy, seductive state deepens with each listen.