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Jess Vincent Jess Vincent
Album: Lions Den
Label: Kostenurka
Tracks: 10

It's been an eventful last three years for Jess Vincent following the release of Shine. Leaving the familiar surroundings of the UK for life in Bulgaria is a quite the change, and much of the record was recorded in her new surroundings. It would be impossible for such a life-changing upheaval not to sneak into her music, and it does feel as if the move has influenced a lot of the album. There's something portentous on display in the lyrics and the often sparse musical arrangement.

The opening tracks of the album are as strong as any you'll hear all year. The Way It Is begins with pared back banjo plucking and an underplayed vocal performance, both of which build throughout to a resounding finish. Follow heavily features an Indian Harmonium, which together with the vocal effects gives the whole track an ethereal quality which is simply gorgeous. The title track continues the dreamlike quality from Follow, with the vocals front and centre aided by a simple guitar arrangement with some low key percussion toward the end.

There is a touch of Americana running through the album. Ghosts in particular has the sweep of the mid-west about it, with its meandering melodies. Waiting For You is an unpretentious joy, and Cherry Tree ups the tempo nicely with Vincent's strongest vocal performance that will leave you covered in goose bumps. This is the kind of album though where every track is destined to be someone's favourite, with not a single weak song across the record.

While this is not a complete departure from previous albums, it does represent a noticeable change. This is a sparser experience than we've seen before, with every single musical note perfectly supporting the songs. Produced by Jozeph Chowles, he deserves a lot of credit for his part in allowing this album to soar. Lions Den is the perfect showcase for Vincent, the pared back arrangements allowing her vocal talents to really fly, and it is achingly beautiful at times. This is a great addition to the Jess Vincent album collection.

Adam Jenkins