High Wire  – Jasmine Ash (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There is pop that sounds like it was built hurriedly in a factory on the last shift of the week, nothing more than a hurried, box ticking exercise, functional but where you can see the joins. Then there is the sort of pop that Jasmine Ash makes…effortless, slightly intangible, elegant and musically eloquent. Hire Wire is both a pointer to pops lost potential and a reminder of how far the genre has to go to recapture the reputation of previous ages. And yet, perhaps surprisingly, with all my talk of her not following in the footsteps of the current crop of movers and shakers, the song revels in the most commercial of sounds, making it not only the best of both worlds but also an exception that proves the rule.

It chimes rather than grooves, shimmers rather than pops, it blends a dream-folk grace with an electro-pop soul, fills the spaces between the beats with gorgeous sound washes and the pauses for breath with drifting atmospheres and beguiling musical motifs. And the focal point of this wonderful soundscape that she draws around herself is Jasmine’s voice. Sitting somewhere between youthful and sultry, it is charming in the extreme, floating across the musical waters below in a spacious and sparing way. If less is more, then this use of less delivers much, much more.

A challenge has been set, perhaps. This could be seen as a new benchmark for pop to measure up to. And either it will fall short and Jasmine Ash gets to remain a sonic rose in a garden of musical weeds or it rises to the challenge and music such as hers acts as a stimulus for the genre to reassert itself creatively. I predict the former, but I guess only time will tell.

 

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