It’s a great positive, then, that Sykes’ work roams around AltCountry, Folk Rock and Psychedelic Rock, styles that make her furtiveness an asset instead of an albatross. Listening to Sykes for instant gratification is bound to mean disappointment, but if you’re willing to dive into the Seattle-based musician’s sullen, wounded sonic pool and swim around for a spell, its positives can strike with serious impact.
Although Sykes’ name occupies top billing in The Sweet Hereafter, she has a comrade on nearly equal footing with her in the form of Phil Wandscher, a guitarist/vocalist otherwise best known for being in Ryan Adams’ old AltCountry outfit Whiskeytown.
Sykes and Wandscher dated for a long while and split before finishing Marble Son, but the pair still managed to assemble the record. It’s a good thing, too, as the interplay of male and female vocals is one of its biggest selling points.
In an interview with The Stranger, Sykes emphasized the difficulty of completing her latest album, noting a birth, a death and a breakup as the factors that could have stopped it.
“All these things happened, and I think we tapped into that dire energy,” she said. “We wanted to do the best we could as artists to mirror that chaos and create some kind of grace from it all.”Luckily for her, Marble Son proves that, sometimes, everything can work out.
JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER play MOTR Pub Saturday, Nov. 19 with guests BUFFALO KILLERS. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get club details here.