Jillian Speer – Daggers & Suede
The Review: Enter Los Angeles vocalist Jullian Speer who just released her latest 6 track EP entitled Daggers & Suede. On the upside, you can expect 6 semi-modern Pop Rock pieces that champion low and high intensity, soul stirring topics canvassed against and pure and conservative folk-rock backdrop. Some songs have an almost earthy sound to them while others deliver “catchy” alternative pop.
With Daggers & Suede I discovered 6 passionate clips of spot-on singer/songwriter style Alt-Folk that are sure to inspire and gravitate many listeners. To me this is Alt-Folk. The arrangements are dynamic, ethereal, cathartic, yet vintage in their own right. Ninety seconds into the first track Fast Car by Tracy Chapman two of the first things crossing your mind were: 1) How undeniably truthful and honest the music sounds, and 2) why the heck haven’t I heard of Jillian Speer yet? But let’s not get to ahead of ourselves here. Track 1 Fast Car is a kind of an opening curveball intro statement offering almost wolf in sheep’s clothing prelude leading you head first into Track 2 the title track and Track 3 “Spill” are all intriguing anthems, while Fisherman and Dum Dum Dai really capture a writers touch. That last piece to me Change Is Constantly Changing is an intellectual affirmation that just seems to go stay with you long after the piece has run its course. The CD as a whole does a nice job at offering a wide variety of playing styles; some slow, some jumpy, some sad some sad. All tracks are a welcomed return of good Alternative Pop powerful in the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Think of the music Tracy Chapman for example. Also present: powerful elements of today’s singer/songwriter genera. My favorite tracks are the ones that are somewhat stark with a ring of truth to them. Up front Speer brings a good vocal appeal. Why does she keep reminding me of Scout Niblett and Shawn Colvin? Bring in the combination of good playing, solid heartfelt vocals, amazing production value and you come to understand why many are talking about her down in LA. The best pieces flow and ebb so nicely with surging intensity only to quickly withdraw again into seclusion. I found this to be a very cool trait of her music. The lyrical content provides inspirational subject matter, and potent topics for today’s thinking fan. Whereas most musical production these days are like a cup of Raman Noodles, “Daggers & Suede is like a bowl of seasoned Escargot with Garlic Butter served with a splash of fine Cognac.
The Bottom Line: Taking all of this into consideration you begin to understand why Jillian Speer is making waves internationally with her music. In the end she along with all the behind the scenes folks deserve a lot of credit for bring this amazing debut release together. Daggers & Suede does a marvelous job of extolling energy (the good, bad and the boldly honest) via a strong 6 track staple that is as fascinating as the tile implies.