Jess Ribeiro: LOVE HATE (Barely Dressed Records)

Released Apr 12th, 2019 via Barely Dressed Records / By Erick Mertz
Jess Ribeiro: LOVE HATE (Barely Dressed Records) Hailing from Down Under songwriter Jess Ribeiro offers a bit of emotional bite on her newest full-length album LOVE HATE. The songs have a knack for leaving traces, of both woe and regret.

The comparisons to American dream pop artist Lana Del Rey will inevitably come for Jess Ribeiro, and so it’s good to throw that out right away. The sultry broken girl tracks on LOVE HATE like Young Love and Lay Down With The Earth do very little to push her past that, but I sense that isn’t something the young artist would quibble with.

Ribeiro’s strength as a songwriter lie elsewhere, however, in another shadowy place beyond her haunting appeal. Tracks like the stormy and more brooding guitar piece, Dylan seize on all of her ghostly flavour, only with a more unique air. Throughout Love Is The Score Of Nothing her vocals come off as drowsy and decadent, performed over a splendid mid-tempo indie rock instrumental. If swirling and washed out are more your mood, the temperamental Painkiller is spellbinding.

If comparison to any performer makes me pause, it is that to Hope Sandoval. That connection comes through on the series of three acoustic Vignette tracks interspersed throughout LOVE HATE. They are by and large short intermissions dropped in between more interesting tracks, but Mazzy Star feels dated to me. These tracks are not very substantial on their own, feeling more like unfinished ideas thrown into the track list that may have been better served with more development time.

In the end, Del Rey’s shadow could be a big one. Ribero is not as bold or provocative, but I really don’t think she needs to be to carve out an interesting place for her craft. The collection of songs on LOVE HATE is cool enough to stand on their own. 4/5