Album: Jemima Coulter – Grace After A Party review

by Philip Moss

Dig out your soul – Jemima Coulter puts their art on the line on one of the most perfect headphone records you’ll ever experience

After a series of collaborations with the likes of Squirrel Flower, Novo Amor and heka, Jemima Coulter’s Grace After A Party arrives fully formed – an introspective collage of bedroom noisescapes and experimental songwriting that is, without doubt, one of the debut albums of 2022.

Justin Vernon’s pushing of where a vocoder can take one’s voice is clearly an influence – but Coulter makes it their own on SST and the groovy Dancing With Lara, and without the technology sapping a smidge of emotion. So often, modern pop music can be a beige construction. But Coulter’s self-production cleverly slots every part of the mix together like Lego: each distorted sound and fragmented noise make this the perfect headphone album, and come together to create a soulful, dream-like space – and the perfect foil for their ambiguous storytelling.

Undoubtedly – the record, which flits between lo-fi sketches (Horses) and aching beauty (Piano 1) -crescendos during the second half of New Recording / Reaching. Its chorus, fit to close the most perfect festival in your mind, and its sentiment – ‘Reaching for something farther out… reaching for something deeper’ – feels like the perfect summary for Coulter’s explorations into what pop music can be.

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