Deep Sea Diver

High Beam Records, 2016

REVIEW BY: Ludwik Wodka


After years of supporting a series of top-tier indie acts such as The Shins, Beck, Spoon, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jessica Dobson has finally set out to front her own outfit named Deep Sea Diver. On her debut album, Secrets, she reveals a sound all her own, which bears traces of some of the acts with which she has performed.

The opening track, fittingly titled “Notice Me,” blends electronic beats and synthesizers with upbeat rock arrangements and textures that veer from the dreamy multi-tracked vocals to squalling guitars and feedback. This is followed by “Wide Awake,” which starts with a swirl of noise and feedback over top of a propulsive bass line groove, then dissipates when the vocals begin, bringing the arrangement into sharper focus.Other highlights from the album include “Creatures Of Comfort,” “Secrets,” “Body On The Track,” and the closer, a minor-key ballad “New Day,” where the melancholy is leavened by hopefulness. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This album’s dynamism within the songs as well as the sequencing keeps timbre and mood continuously changing, giving the album an ebb-and-flow that keep it from going stale. The warped guitar lines used in tracks like “It Take A Moment” and “Notice Me” demonstrate the kind of restraint and control that are the mark of a seasoned professional, wise enough to avoid overdrawn self-indulgences. As a fan of the noisy ‘90s indie guitar rock, her occasional flourishes of feedback made me smile, but I was just as happy to hear it artfully integrated into the arrangement instead of overpowering it.

Although the songs are well crafted, their full power is not revealed immediately. It can take a little while for some of them to grow on you. Perhaps “Notice Me” makes the strongest first impression, but the album’s strength and beauty lie in its subtleties. Jessica Dosbon demonstrates the strength of her songwriting chops, crafting beautiful and interesting songs with a sharp ear for arrangement. Secrets is full of optimism, but not naïveté; full of confidence, but not bravado. This is a wonderful album – and that’s not a secret.

Rating: A-

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