Jade Bird burst onto the scene in 2017, with her debut EP ‘Something American’. There was something instantly ‘sit up and listen’ about the nineteen year old from South Wales: perhaps that powerhouse vocal, or maybe that ability to spin a story within the space of a song, maybe just the ease with which chords were slung together to create instant sing alongs.
A 2019 album and a slight inconvenience of a global pandemic later, Jade returns with her second studio album, ‘Different Kinds Of Light’. After quarantining for two weeks in a hotel room in Mexico, Jade took up shop in upstate New York to commit pen to paper, before heading down to Nashville to record. She was joined there by Grammy award-winning producer Dave Cobb (Lady Gaga, John Prine, Brandi Carlile) – who made her “sound imperfect, in a great way”.
Imperfections or no imperfections, Bird rarely puts a foot wrong on ‘Different Kinds Of Light’; a joyous affair from start to finish. The album is trademark for the artist – simple chord structures providing the canvas for Jade’s vibrant vocal colour. ‘Open Up the Heavens’ demands the listeners attention with subtlety; it’s a tour de force for the main, but a coaxing “let me know, let me know” captivates with its light and shade. The title track could well be Bird’s Stevie Nicks moment, as she asks, “who’s going to make you feel storms and thunder?” It’s tender, evocative and cuts to the core – as much of this album succeeds in doing.
At fifteen tracks long, ‘Different Kinds Of Light’ does clock in the minutes, and some of the real gems could be at risk of being cast over for that reason. ‘Prototype’, the final track, is an album highlight. Bird’s chorus closer, “I love you and I think I always will” is followed by a harmonica riff, altogether sounding as sweet as loving another person feels. ‘Rely On’ is similarly impressive, with Bird’s ethereal vocal reverberating off a gutsy electric guitar beat. The potential Bird shows on these tracks, where she has stepped off the well-trodden path to bring different instruments more prominently into the fold, is immense.
‘Different Kinds Of Light’ shows Bird navigating melody and emotion with impressive command, a musician in all senses of the word. Continuing to colour outside the lines on future material could make Bird a household name for years to come.
Words: Sophie Church
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