Jennifer Doll – With Everything
As sharp-eyed KMA Readers will recall, a while back I received and covered Manipulant’s What Good Are The Stars? On that fine release, one of the versions of the title track features the excellent vocal work of Jennifer Doll.
More recently, I received an email from Jennifer, who’d been referred to me via Manipulant, wondering if I’d be interested in reviewing her new release, entitled With Everything (which drops September 21). Oh dear Readers, you know my answer! Of course I absolutely would! Especially since I truly appreciated her work on the Manipulant track, and I’ve always loved it when artists send us their work, so bring it on!
I’ve played through this release several times now, and (spoiler alert!) it’s awesome. Check it out:
Bookended by waves washing ashore, Siren Song atmospherically highlights Doll’s vocals, which float beautifully while simultaneously remaining firm and guiding, as the song’s protagonist tries to keep the darkness at bay. By the time the horns march into the mix, I am fully invested in this brilliant opener. Secrets Of The Dance Floor creeps up on a deep bass rumble and simple slinky beat. Through the good headphones, the backing vocals meld wonderfully with the instrumental movements. I love the mood here, and how it takes a good hard look at the party life.
Cosmo (f. Almark) swirls in and suddenly it’s a dance party with (at least two, that I could hear) restless synth lines writhing beneath a solid melody line. Once again the vocals soar here, and the gentler breakdown section that leads to the outro is so dreamy and lovely. Brilliant dynamics abound on this track. Heavy begins with a wonderfully church-like vocal presence (with tons of room for it) mixed with piano. It builds from there into this ethereal sway of instruments and voice, sheer beauty that’s in no rush, the kind of track you want to go on for hours.
Here ends the release proper. However, there are also three bonus tracks!
Glitter Tits carries on the look at party life and its aftermath, as well as that overall feel of afterparty comedown on the deck of some beachside chateau, perhaps as the sun comes up. I love the choir-like backing vocals, and especially the bite in her almost-whispered vocals as she reaches the punchline. That’s damn fine work. Glitter Tits (OneManStanding R3M1X) is simultaneously the same song and yet another creation entirely. The music is the same, yet there are so many things done to it to add effects and shades to it all. The pace is also slowed down considerably, adding even more to my impression of its purpose, as mentioned above. The backing vocals remain, but are moved back in the mix a bit, paradoxically increasing their poignant presence. The bottom end here is huge and spacious, straight out of the Massive Attack playbook.
Cosmo The Little Girl Found (Jigsaw Sequence Remix) is possibly the brightest track here, tonally, very gloriously 80s with huge vocal belts (truly, she has power, folks!) and synths insistently punching at us and swirling around us. When it mellows in sections, reminiscent of earlier tracks on this release, it only bolsters the strength of this track’s resolve. Get on the dancefloor and lose yourself in this ambitious retro sound mixed with current dance energy.
Not sure why these three are bonus tracks – this is as solid a 7-track EP, with a consistent sound, feel, and thread throughout, as I’ve ever heard! 🙂
There’s no other way to say it except I thought this EP was bloody brilliant. This is a fully-realized work of art, offering sounds that mix dance aesthetic and sheer beauty with aplomb. The production is perfect, and the sound is fantastic. In a sea of (largely) forgettable dance music, here is true, clear-eyed creativity, talent and strength for all to see and hear. I wish Jennifer every success, she is definitely not only already doing all the right things, but she’s miles ahead of the rest of us and we’re all lucky to get to hear her!
I thank Jennifer Doll very, very much for contacting me and sharing this brilliant release. She was wonderful to work with throughout our exchanges, and we even waxed philosophical about life for a while, via email. It’s these very human interactions that make projects like this real, and so much fun.
Folks, get your pre-order copy of this stellar release RIGHT HERE ON JENNIFER DOLL’S BANDCAMP. And on September 21, “you’ll get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus a high quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.” It will also be on CD after the 21st via that Bandcamp link, and comes with “high quality printing and packaging in a jewel case… shipping out on or around September 21, 2018.” GET YOURS!