Female vocalists in the dance music arena are almost like tissues. They show up when you need them and go away when you don't. It's a sad reality. But you remember some of them. Every once in a while, a vocalist will pop up and you will remember her. Inaya Day started out as a featured vocalist, as did Barbara Tucker and Andrea Britton. Jes Brieden did as well. Now I will be realistic, because Jes (as we know her) was actually in a band before club/trance superstars Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden conscripted her to take a wild Motorcycle ride. Had you heard of her before "As The Rush Comes"? I doubt it. DJ Tiesto heard something amazing in that track though, something that wasn't brought simply by the astounding talents of Gabriel & Dresden. Tiesto heard Jes, the empowered and emotional vocalist capable of putting such feeling and sincerity into a vocal trance track and placed it on his Nyana compilation. Soon everyone was captivated. And then Jes disappeared.
She didn't actually disappear, just like she didn't start out as a featured vocalist, but most people didn't heard of her again until "Ghost" surfaced as a track by Deepsky featuring Jes (as a sidenote, she did another track with Deepsky called "Talk Like A Stranger"). "Ghost" made the rounds, through a variety of guises. The most notable included the European mash-up, "Ghost In My Heart." The original track of "Ghost" was escorted into a room with Ethan's "In My Heart" and told to play nicely. Which they did, making it onto a couple compilations. Then "Ghost" resurfaced again in the following year with a stellar remix by Joe Bermudez & The Klubjumpers, a mix that trundled up the Billboard Top Club Play chart, peaking just inside the Top 20, and earning a spot on Robbins Entertainment's "Best Of " trance series.
Despite all of this, buzz about Jes' album was kept minimal. It was released quietly stateside by Ultra Records. And it's the best damn rocktronica album since Juliet threw us into "Avalon" with her album Random Order. Jes has proven to be a confident vocalist but she shines better on this album than she did on any previous recording. I'm not sure if this is due to recording savvy, or just a deep intrinsic understanding of the music she is singing. And just to drive the point home of the style of music she is presenting, she is featured on the cover of her album looking quite "techno" with a guitar slung over her shoulders like a battle axe.
Appropriately enough, the album starts out with "Ghost." This is a different production than the original, a more toned-down version suitable for the "rocktronica" genre that I oh so love. The album then moves into some heavier rocktronica tunes, tracks with a bit more meat and edge. "Heaven" has all the potential for a dance floor stomper, especially if magic producer Stuart Price turned his gaze to the track, considering his work on Gwen Stefani's "4 In The Morning." "One Moon Circling" has "vocal trance anthem" written, in bold AND italics, all over it.
Unfortunately, the middle of the album drags a bit. "Want My Love" is a downtempo trip-hop track that successfully manages to show off her vocal chops a little more, but "Like A Waterfall" has such a repetitive and unrelenting beat that her vocals sound drowned out. She maintains the same range throughout most of the album, and that only appears as tedious in the aforementioned "Waterfall" track, and in "Imagination." Some remixes could change the effect of the track, but the album versions definitely don't entice me to continue listening. "Disconnect," "Stronger," and "See You Soon" round out the slow songs on the album, and they definitely stick out among all the crazy beats and bass guitars. "Stronger" has a great traditional trip-hop beat with an island feel to it that is both alluring and mysterious. In reality, I could go on and on but then what fun would that be?
Summary: What are you waiting for? Get it! Now!