"What do Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter “sound” like? That’s your question? They sound...worthy. Worthy of your time, your ear, your dedicated listening to an hour of nearly perfectly crafted and daring music making. If you had to sum it up, if you had to tag it (as it were), it would be the sound of a beautiful, graceful, injury within."
"Psychedelia as communal creation, psychedelia as mystical quest, psychedelia as a roiling tangle and psychedelia as a euphoric, entranced sprawl are all encompassed in the music of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter...There’s nothing neo- about this band’s psychedelia."
-The New York Times
"Marble Son is one of the best albums we've heard around the MAGNET office so far this year."
**** (4 out of 5 stars)
- K.B.R., MSN Entertainment
"It’s (Marble Son) the child of some Faustian pact between Karen Dalton and Jimmy Page born at some secret southern crossroad. The counterculture furies of ‘69 reborn, eternally “hiding from the daylight.” You’ll be drawn to the glow of their bluesy-country embers, but eventually you’ll find yourself miles from home, dancin’ into the flames, out of your head, covered in warpaint and doing a witchdance. It’s true, throughout its hour-long spell, I had the unmistakeable feeling I was being groomed for some devious southern death cult and what’s worse, I liked it. Come, join us."
- Matt James, PopMatters
"a country-western, psych rock, shamanic, folk masterpiece"
- The Stranger
"This is a complex, fascinating record that punches the shoulder for attention. As subtle as it is hypnotic, mixing delicacy with confidence and hope with fear.... unlock your senses, and wrap yourself in this intricate web of aural imagery"
- Consequence Of Sound **** (4 out of 5 stars)
"flush with cavernous sonics and complex soundscapes, it's 58 minutes of aural cinema for the ears and mind"
"alternative country, no...more like alternative universe.. a sprawling psych rock vision..."
"Whether the sonic setting is one of doomy distortion or fragile fingerpicking, Sykes remains a truly unique vocalist whose dusky voice is capable of imparting a transcendent, almost spiritual quality to almost any tune it touches."
-All Music Guide
"A triumph, in a word"
- The Line of Best Fit...UK
"Terrific...A roaring, psychedelic tempest."
- Uncut **** (4 out of 5 stars)
"Marble Son is like a Tesla coil with self-will."
- Peter Sj÷blom, Tidningen Kulturen...SE
Like, Love, Lust & The Open Halls of the Soul
Voted one of the top albums of 2007 in Artforum, Harp, Paste, Amazon and others....
SPIN - * * * * (4 out of 5 stars)
MOJO - * * * * (4 out of 5 stars)
UNCUT - * * * * (4 out of 5 stars)
Q - * * * * (4 out of 5 stars)
"This is folk rock
for the 21st century."
and the Sweet Hereafter manage to build a sepia toned masterpiece from
inside the framework of country-noir. That's the sum, but the genius is
in the parts."
best record yet. The songs are simultaneously catchier and darker. Her
voice has grown deeper, richer, and spookier, alternately evoking Cat
Power, Grace Slick, and Karen Dalton."
"Like, Love, Lust
& the Open Halls of the Soul
shows a band not half-awake, but all-consumed-even enraptured "
"Sykes sounds less
like a performer and more like a
sage. Completely overpowering."
"It's not folk-pop,
or what's become known as Americana, or even country
document of a band in full command of its powers.Most noticable though,
is the continued evolution of Sykes' singing and songwriting...With
"Like,Love,Lust And The Open Halls Of The Soul" she's served up her
"Like, Love, Lust
and the Open Halls of the Soul" should
go down as Seattle's first great, lasting album of the new millennium."
their third offering... the Sweet Hereafter are stretching themselves,
incorporating different textures, sonics, and even song structures to
build bridges for that understated, intensely expressive voice to
articulate a poetic view that's decidedly subterranean and perhaps even
sublingual.... this is the most satisfying offering from Sykes and her
voice is an unedited, unforced and completely un-self-conscious hallway
through harrowing vulnerability, a cavern of subtle hues and the drip,
drip, dripping of time and experience (time happens; life teaches). It
travels through twilight corridors of natural composition (hope), decay
(despair) and evolution (resignation)."
"This is the album of sad beauty the Scud Mountain Boys were too suicidal to make; it's what happens when fronting on style is shunned in favor of inventive songwriting that focuses (perhaps too closely, but whatever) on the unique talents of a lineup." Pitchfork Review
-Pitchfork...7.6 out of 10
in places, even narcotic, "Oh, My Girl" continues to reverberate long
after it ends. Like the Velvet Underground's third record or Bob
Dylan's Desire, what resonates after "Oh, My Girl" fades isn't any
specific moment, but the feel of the world created in it and by it."
"spellbound music, rapt in
fatalism and sorrow."
Girl is the soundtrack to lonliness, and rarely has a record sounded so
quietly riveting or intense... a beautiful heartbreaking album. Country
gothic at its bleakest and most starkly poignant…"
not often that one comes across a voice as haunting as Jesse Sykes’.
With a deep, smoky resonance, that in some ways recalls Marianne
Faithful, Sykes manages to convey even more wasted resignation, making
this record an instant melancholia classic."
that gnaw on life's mysteries and yearn for deeper human contact. Her
songs are about seeking wisdom you can't find in books, and celebrate a
connection to the Earth in language that has practically vanished from
alt-country album in the minds of some… But that reductionist impulse
should be resisted; Oh, My Girl occupies a different plane than simple
"Americana." It's music noir, encompassing the dark and gorgeous
sadness that comes with being human."
* * * * (4 out of 5 stars)
* * * * (4 out of 5
-Rolling Stone * * * 1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)
* * * * (4 out of 5
has a Sandy Denny-like ability to swing unpredictably between brittle
vulnerability and calm, centered power, and her songwriting is
mesmerizing in its stone-solid refusal to move at any but its own
glacial, deliberate pace. The sound is as uncompromising and
challenging as that of any "experimental" band…"
Burning was one of my out-of-the-blue faves of 2002 ...their sound is
Southern in vibe; country noir that's ancient feeling yet contemporary
in its edginess"
sparse beauty and deepsome simplicity of both Sykes and her songs are
difficult to capture. Uncommon and oddly out of time, the tunes are
still somehow utterly familiar, like the lingering residue of a winter
arty, quiet, and sonically atmospheric, Reckless Burning is a
twang-noir dream of an album stuffed with unfathomable psychological
complexities and spiritually irritating complications so typical of our
depression-lurks-around-every-corner lives. Seattle's Jesse Sykes
delivers her meaty, emotionally loaded songs with a trance-like languid
simplicity. The opening title track, almost seven minutes long, takes
us straight to the depths of the dream-vision…"
Jesse Sykes took her time with the melancholic, yet-to-be-released song
"The Air Is Thin" Saturday at the Gothic Theatre, it almost felt as if
something or somebody else took over her role as bandleader and lyrical
goddess for a few moments - a spirit, maybe.
was the intensity that never faltered I don't think I've ever seen the
Maze so hushed. One song slipped into another with the non album
'Winter Hunter' bringing a Breughal like stillness to the room…"
Not even a minute into Jesse Sykes' first number Thursday at the Point, it was clear that something unusual was about to happen. The room noise stilled as the music started, leaving Sykes' wary, wounded, not-quite-raspy voice out in the open. The song, "Reckless Burning," ambled at a dejected pace, and as she told of a serial arsonist, Sykes left some phrases hanging ominously in the air, like smoke on a windless day. By the second time through the chorus, Sykes and guitarist Phil Wandscher had transported listeners from Bryn Mawr to a vaguely threatening rural landscape.
The duo, opening for James McMurtry, played only six songs. Most were measured affairs, and each held its own mystery. "Troubled Soul," from the new Oh, My Girl, was riddled with doubt and delivered in a near-tremble; "Your Eyes Told" gave fleeting impressions of the nonverbal communication underpinning a love affair.
Though she has performed for just a few years, Sykes clearly knows how to spin textures and moods from her unique voice. She got surprising help from Wandscher, who surrounded the halting melody of "Winter Hunter" with graceful, weeping-willow falsetto harmonies.
Wandscher is also an extraordinarily sensitive, minimal-minded guitarist: He offset Sykes' cool-headed vocal lines with stark declarations, and, occasionally, dramatic displays of blues-guitar pitch-bending."
-Tom Moon, Philadelphia Inquirer
All songs by Jesse Sykes, published by Spooky American Music, (adm.by Bug, BMI) except (*) by Jesse Sykes and Phil Wandscher published by Spooky American Music and Maggot Brain Music (adm. by Bug, BMI). "Reckless Burning", published by Sony/ATV Tunes LLC