Review: Jessica Bailiff – At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky

So often when albums take off in the manner of opener “Your Ghost Is Not Enough” – with dizzy vocal sighs and soft snare hits lifting the experience gently skyward – they never come down again, submitting themselves to the bliss of dreamy, drifty detachment until the closure of the final track fades reality back up again. Such escapism comprises just one aspect of At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky, and while Bailiff’s voice may stay consistently within the realm of the angelic and half-asleep, her forever surroundings collapse and reform into drastically different forms: blistering ambient sunlight, bleak organ rituals, mournful rock for one.

But she’s far from oblivious to these atmospheric transformations. Subtle adjustments of power and disposition see her voice reshape so as to accommodate the music’s various states of being – as seen in her edge of ethereal mystery during “This Is Real”, or the slight quivers of sadness dotting the funeral serenade of “Violets & Roses” – while her vocal melodies wrap themselves tightly around the overall mood, embracing each tweak to the emotional hue and slipping ghost-like into the backdrop.

And it’s a diverse record, emotionally speaking. “Take Me To The Sun” is the album’s most jovial spiritual elevation, fizzing into orbit and leaving shimmering reverberation trail in its wake, dusted with the same sort of distortion jangle that propels My Bloody Valentine eternally upward. “Sanguine” instantly follows – the tempo drags under the track’s sudden sombre weight, with organs tumbling repeatedly through melodic motifs of descendant steps. By the time the album moves into “Goodnight”, the utopian flights of the early tracks feel a country mile away; those clouds of major key and echo have since solidified into rusted metal shackles and iron weights, hauling the listener through distortion murk that buzzes and scrapes on all sides. Such is the manner in which the state of At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky is so drastically and beautifully upturned.