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EP Review: Jessica Clemmons – What If

Photo: Michael Duryea

Jessica kept this whole Country thing quiet, didn’t she? She’d been pedalling the pop stuff until the last second and was rather good at it, actually. As she popped off to finish up a new EP, more of the same was expected but what she delivered was the piece of the Clemmons puzzle that had yet to be put into place. ‘What If’ is the point in Jessica’s career that it all makes sense. This is the music Jessica Clemmons needed to make.

‘Single Tonight’ proves why it was chosen to lead the campaign thanks to it’s infectious chorus – it feels like a Carrie Underwood track. Never a bad thing. It’s a simple song done well – it doesn’t overthink it. On the midtempo front, opening track ‘Love Like That’ subtly imprints itself on your brain – by the final chorus, you’ll be humming along. It also gives a great representation of the effortless way Jessica delivers her vocals. In true country style, she adopts the role of storyteller. She doesn’t attempt to baffle you with riffs and licks – but when it’s necessary, she’s more than capable of bringing out the big guns. Half-spoken turns are littered throughout the EP – it brings a nice, human touch to the songs and it feels that there is even more personality to Jessica on this EP than on anything she’d released previously. From the sassy ‘Single Tonight’ to the introverted title track – it feels very unique and personal to Jessica which elevates the tracks beyond country-by-numbers.

The title track ‘What If’ is the standout moment, in my eyes. It’s the perfect segue between the Jessica of old and new – it has the power pop mentality that drenches the mammoth chorus whilst the guitar twangs that have signified a genre place it as a cohesive part of the EP. It is the real powerhouse moment too – Jessica properly unleashes her voice on this one and it sets itself apart thanks to it’s wealth of emotion, passion and conviction. It helps that it’s a pretty relatable lyric too – we’ve all been in the dumps because of love haven’t we? 🙁 Clemmo knows how we feel, everybody.

It must be growing up around it that makes Texan artists instinctively great at producing top notch country and folk material and it’s no coincidence that Jessica calls it her home. ‘What If’, as it’s title suggests, may initially seem a risky delve into the unknown for a popstar, but it’s merely a return to the roots for Ms. Clemmons. It’s taken the polished, crafted songwriting of the pop world and blended it effortlessly with the raw flavour of.her hometown’s signature sound. The truth is, it might have crept up with little fuss but this EP is a huge step up in Jessica’s career and a gamechanger. More of this please, Clemmons.

Why not buy ‘What If’ from iTunes or, if you’re feeling particularly British – Amazon.co.uk.

Photo: Michael Duryea
Words: Simon McMurdo

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