Jessica's Brother

by Jessica's Brother

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    12" black vinyl. Reverse outer board sleeve. Heavyweight printed inner. Artwork by Jessica Jane Charleston.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Jessica's Brother via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    4 panel reverse card digifile sleeve, screen printed CD in a mooncut.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Jessica's Brother via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Digital Album
    Streaming + Download

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about

Jessica’s Brother is the eponymous debut album from London trio Jessica’s Brother, comprised of songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm (drums, also of The Wave Pictures) and Charlie Higgs (bass, previously of Ramshackle Union Band). Channelling the spirit of the Brothers Grimm to create an otherworldly atmosphere, they weave their motley influences together making a rich and eclectic vision, with nods to Silver Jews, Jason Molina, Nick Cave, Richard Thompson and Neil Young. There are themes of joy, anger and silliness in a carefully crafted world with a colourful cast of characters.
The trio formed in October 2016. Jonny and Charlie worked together in a framing business and had often talked about collaborating in a band together. Fate intervened when Jonny’s girlfriend Jessica introduced him to her brother Tom, and they found a songwriter in waiting. The trio clicked immediately and just nine months later they recorded the album with Laurie Sherman at The Booze Cube in Stoke Newington, with input from Darren Hayman. A few other friends joined them in the studio, including Dan Mayfield (Enderby’s Room), who added a dose of Bad Seeds/Dirty Three vibes on the violin and Paul Rains (Allo Darlin’/Tigercats) lent a hint of country twang on guitar and slide guitar.
With Jessica’s Brother, we see Tom Charleston’s songwriting blossoming in to a tour de force. Influenced more by poets than other musicians, he cites John Ashbery, T.S. Eliot and Philip Larkin as inspirations. He is drawn to how they can be irreverent, unassuming and playful, as he explains; “I suppose I wanted to offer something lyrically engaging and hopefully different.” His modestly lofty ambitions have paid off, with ten startling individual vignettes telling their own stories from a variety of narrator’s points of view.

He tackles difficult subjects such as gender equality and the destructive nature of masculinity. These can be seen in tracks such as “One Of The Guys”, about the toxic nature of being one of the guys in a predatory pack, lamenting the masculine essentialism owned and largely perpetuated by the male sex. The single “Overnight Horror” revolves around the macho-masculine nightmare where, as Charleston explains, “the world has gone head-over-heels shitward and the narrator is reduced to selling his daughter or his wife to stay alive.”

Album opener is the Silver Jews-esque “Getting Obscene”, which sprang from a sense of going nowhere fast, acknowledged in a repetitious revolving chord which becomes an immersive rock’n’roll meditation. The tone completely changes with the next track “All The Better”, which is a hushed, eerie folk song exploring the melancholy and optimism of breaching adolescence and the limbo before adulthood; a simple tale of growing up.
“Humdinger” is perhaps the one song on the album where the narrator is at ease with himself and the world. Though there are moments where this tranquility is nudged by outside tremors, so we know this moment is ephemeral.

Weaving a variety of influences from jangly indie-rock to gothic country and contemplative psych folk, Jessica’s Brother create the sound of a band coming together and getting caught up in the rush of starting new and enjoyable. The instruments clamber over each other in a small room, with Helm’s distinctive drumming counterbalances the gothic guitar thrums and wailing violin. Already lauded by the likes of The Guardian (for their first ever gig) and the Saatchi Magazine (for their first single), the scene is set for a bright future.

“Jessica’s Brother’s shambling nerdcore is clearly a passion project intended to please only themselves. Good for them…A jingling rush that would have headed John Peel’s Festive 50 in another life.” The Guardian
“A band to fall in love with... there is no derivative pastiche or homage here. It all feels right, and, as with the best bands, they make it sound new.” Saatchi Magazine

“A stunning combination of gothic-country and 1960’s inspired psych-folk, simultaneously downbeat and expansive.” For The Rabbits

credits

released July 20, 2018

Artwork by Jessica Jane Charleston.
Recorded by Laurie Sherman.
Mixed by Darren Hayman.
Mastered by Ian Button.

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Track Name: Getting Obscene
Getting Obscene, when you were young,
No holes in your jeans, it’s all alone,
Better bake your ideas, they’re underdone,
Boy you’re a tool now, get stuck in anything,

Well my heart is broken like everyone’s,
But there’s a song in my bones that keeps me hanging on,
And it’s you, and you, and you,

And She is not angry, she’s just contemplating,
All of the things we see and how we make them,
Turn on my stove and warm your bottoms,
Take a look in my throat it’s just a hollow cavern,

Give ‘em the chorus, make ‘em adore us,
Just give ‘em the chorus honey,
Give ‘em the chorus, make ‘em adore us,
Just give ‘em the chorus
Track Name: All the Better
Light on the air that day,
Coming to the open play,
Whistles on the breeze,
Traffic in the trees,
Holding up the bear cub state,

Oh! That I am young,
Would never hurt no-one,
Come to leave the shire,
Taken to the fire,
Hold man I’ll hold my tongue,

What big eyes you have,
What big arms you have,
What big teeth you have,
What big brains you have,
All the better to greet you with,

So I told them you were not there,
And again they asked me where,
Just above the C-note, lost if I know,
Around my heart somewhere,

And I grew and you grew too,
The past was always new,
Getting and we got here,
Looking kind of good dear,
Holding up the light to you,

What big eyes you have,
What big arms you have,
What big teeth you have,
What big brains you have,
All the better to meet you with
Track Name: One of the Guys
Hot that heat was blowing,
Nothing but the eyes were showing,
It’s the tumbling dice but not as you know him

I’ll say one thing I’ll say another,
And then I’ll blame it on my mother,
In trying times there is a shoe-in,
When you’ve got this kind of weapon,

See I was born and then I grew up,
Hiding all that made me human,
And in these clothes I live forever,
Man it’s such a simple pleasure

Because I’m one of the guys,
One of the guys, one of the guys, one of the guys
I’m one of the guys,
One of the guys, one of the guys…

And I’ve got plans to build a kingdom,
And if I can’t then I’ll just sell them,
You know it’s just a part of nature,
That I’ve learned to fool my brothers

Don’t let me down ‘cus if you do I’ll,
Take more than might seem cruel,
My will is strong I’ll have no laughter,
For an eye I’ll take your daughters

Because I’m of the guys,
One of the guys, one of the guys, one of the guys,
I’m one of the guys,
One of the guys, one of the guys, one of the guys,
I’m one of the guys,
One of the guys,
Yeah I’m one of the guys,
One of the guys.

I’m only one step away,
I run this fever every day,
And when it comes to descending the stair,
Who’ll be down to meet you there?

Will you change or open the locks?
Will you venture to see what you’ve lost?
And when it comes calling you hear knock-knock,
Do you dare do you not?
Do you dare do you not?
Track Name: Dylan
I thought you were Bob Dylan,
Until you started singing,
Where’s my hands to grow?
Run off down the road

I’ve got a place that maybe you can stay at,
Just round the corner if we make it to the border,
There’s juice in the oven and fire in the cupboard,
A little bit of damp but a whole-lotta-loving,
And dog is on the wind-shield shielding no thrills,
When your mother hit the water she didn’t mean to,
Dancing on the table fighting Cain and Able,
Leave it on the mantle-side until you see your father cry

Where’s my hands to grow?
Run off down the road…

And I thought you were Bob Dylan
Until you started singing,
Where’s my hands to grow?
Run off down the road
Track Name: Humdinger
Sure enough the bells are ringing,
And the streets are filled with bones,
Going back to a carnal pack,
We can never be alone

They’ve got a new one it’s a big one,
And it sounds like us it does,
Like and like until you’re headstrong,
Fall apart when you find love

And I said lo’ humdinger,
I’m just a lazy singer with my mind in two,
And go ahead my brother my sister’s quite another,
So far from blue

And in the evening of our summer,
I will pick what I can eat,
Fill our bags for all the others,
Let them in and let them leave,
And if you see her won’t you tell her,
That you heard nothing from me,
I got a feeling by the altar,
But the charms won’t help you sleep,

And I said lo’ humdinger,
I’m just a lazy singer with my mind in two,
And go ahead my brother my sister’s quite another,
So far from blue

And I said lo’ humdinger,
I’m just an inky slinger with my mind in five,
And go ahead my brother my sister’s quite another,
And she’s alright
Track Name: Overnight Horror
Lay down, darling, lay down,
These men are coming around,
Gold gold silver and gold,
So love me do as you’re told,

Well I sold my pictures and my goods,
I’ve kept you as long as I could,
And now as fortune does dictate,
My darling I send you on your way

Long live the queen on papered things,
Each to their own and us to them,
Give me the goose I have not seen,
And rest in faith that men are men
I’ve got this feeling it’s all wrong man,
I’ve got this feeling in my bones,
And if you listen to the ground man,
I think you’d hear we’re not alone

I woke up last night,
Woke in a sweat,
Saw the other laughing at me,
Thought he’s about to break his neck,
And I have small time for small things,
No clue for things that you’ve seen,
And all I feel is my body convulsing,
And the water’s gone bad but you know I keep drinking

Darling I’ve been dreaming of the ocean,
And on the rocks out there I see you hold them,
Money in my pocket,
A tune in my boots,
Well I go out late at night to see everyone looks like you
Track Name: Come Around
Don’t listen to no more songs,
Their words falling out wrong,
Crooning noises baritone voices,
Something said but not done,

I’m all ears I’m all yours,
And this time there’s still more,
Anxious carousing,
Naked rough-housing,
Missteps to good doors

Well come around,
Oh come get down,
And play, play around,
With the safety you’ve found,
Eat a peach break your leg,
Stop listening instead

Edna Holme watched her home fall into the sea,
And it wasn’t long ‘til her husband John said this isn’t me,
Oh what story told,
Or movie sold could give you a chance?
To see it through make your truce with truth,
And see out your last?

Well come around! Oh come get down!
And play, play around,
With the safety you’ve found,
Eat a peach break your leg,
Stop listening instead,
All right come on yeah
Track Name: Hare
If I were a hare I would chase you from here to there,
Across all fields and through the hallowed woods,
But here in the city I can dream of you hear with me,
Under the lights that shine so bright,
They strip us of our mortal-might and other people

Down by the garden,
I found a way into the earth,
And so far I’ve seen how it’s all that we are worth,
And how loud the night howls,
Under a blue moon with your blue cloud,
You know I have found our own place to go

Strung out lying about,
Found my home with no house,
Taken down hole in the ground,
I think I’ll be in country-town,
Where the birds still sing,
As the trains roll in,
And fly-tippers fly away

Fly away, fly away,
If only for a day,
You don’t have to die to reach the sky,
Or draw the ones you love,

On rainy days and sunny eves,
The song goes on the trees don’t leave,
There might just be,
A sleeping sea of tumult and duress

Strung out lying about,
Found my home with no house,
Taken down hole in the ground,
I think I’ll be in country-town,
Where the birds still sing,
As the trains roll in,
And fly-tippers tip their hats

I’ll fly away, fly away,
Oh glory,
I’ll fly away,
When I die hallelujah by and by,
I’ll fly away
Track Name: Lulu Walls
Holy run circles up east where they found her,
Well at least one part,
The others were nowhere to be found
With no clothes on,
No sign of another,
Though we’d all heard him sing those long murderous love songs

Lulu Walls she was young she was tall,
A gifted new mind left the top of her school,
And in that summer,
She longed it were over,
So she could leave town,
And learn from professors

But in that town where Lulu was born,
Lived a man whose name we don’t say anymore,
Though he was a talent,
Did little but sing,
About a love so scolding,
And a lady so deserving of him
And his love songs,
His amply spaced home,
Where a lady could spend all of her days alone,
Encased in fencing,
Twenty-feet tall,
So no-one could gaze at his dear Lulu Walls

One night he saw her,
Across the moonlit river,
Struck by her beauty,
Decided to call her,
May I walk you home,
Through the pale unknown?
And if I make this stand,
Won’t you take my hand?

For days he bothered and followed her home,
While Lulu just wanted to be on her own,
And had no interest in married old mind-sets,
And looked to the west,
Where her adventures they lay next,
He stormed back home,
He ceased to sleep,
That aggravating beauty,
He named her and weeped,
Well this is not right,
It’s not part of my plan,
And if I cannot have her,
Then nobody can
Track Name: Cold, White and Blue Days
On a cold white a blue day,
The new-year seemed waylaid,
As if it had maybe twenty-five miles left in the tank,
And on that morning a snowdrop was calling,
And it ended up screaming its way out of the world,
There was no vision there was no plan,
It just happened to happen because it could because it can,

And isn’t that enough?
Isn’t that enough for you man?
Isn’t that enough?
Isn’t that enough for you?

The daybreak that broke had nowhere to go,
Except your eager hand,
I like to see the smiles you pulled
As you shoot the fruit clean off the stand,
There was a lantern sky filled with starry eyes,
For miles and miles all across the land

And isn’t that enough?
Isn’t that enough for you man?
Isn’t that enough?
Isn’t that enough for you?

And don’t change your tune,
And don’t look to lose,
No-one is bullet-fool proof,
And you’re like a child,
When you get riled,
And I know, I know all this too