It is excellent to have Jazz Robertson back in the review pen firing line; last year’s Stay and It Ain’t Me were fantastic tracks, songs which opted for a sophisticated take on pop by juggling all manner of non-pop traits, not least of all, a neo-classical grace to go along with the inherent accessibility.
Walls of Jericho feels like it is peak Jazz Robertson, capturing all her fantastic trademark sonic signatures in one place – cinematic indie vibes, ambient dreamscapes, pop melodicism – and, this time out, introducing slashes and slices of rock guitars. It’s a beautiful balance and blend of grace and grit and groove.
Not only is it a gorgeously slow-burning piece, gradually cocooning itself in additional layers of tone and texture as it builds towards its final destination, but it ebbs and flows with dynamic interplays along the way, a sky-searing crescendo here, an atmospheric lull there, highs and lows, light and shade.
It is also the sound of an artist finding and exploring their sound to the fullest. Not to say that her music was not hitting the mark before; most artists would kill to have any of her songs in their back catalogue. But this feels like everything coming together, a natural step up, a raising of personal benchmarks. And that benchmark was pretty high to start with.
And, as good as the music is, the fluid dance it follows, the interplay between understatement and weight, delicacy and drive that it explores, the way that it moves from gentle restraint to soaring sonics, the icing on the cake is Robertson’s voice and particularly her ability to sound intimate and dreamlike at one end of the vocal spectrum but showing absolute control, clout and confidence at the other.
This is just the latest high point in a series of high points that are ubiquitous amongst her musical output, but Walls of Jericho sees her totally hitting her stride in a way that she has not quite reached before. And if she can produce songs this well-crafted at this stage in her career, imagine what she will be doing a year from now…or ten! It’s going to be worth following her career closely to find out. I know I will be.