When Jessica Dobson was 17 she had an inkling, something inert within her being that she was destined to be a musician and in the decade since she’s done everything possible to fulfill that premonition. In 2009 she toured as the bassist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in 2011 James Mercer named her guitarist for his latest iteration of The Shins and during that whole process her own group, Deep Sea Diver, has undergone a gestation process that is nothing short of remarkable.
When the group started out it was a solo project then it became a family project as she and her husband, Peter Mansen created a duet then a full-fledged band. Now after two modestly successful EPs, Dobson and her band of mischievous misanthropes have released their debut album, History Speaks, and it’s really reminiscent of early Fiona Apple. It has a Shins feel to it and a does a great job of showcasing her voice.
The echoing vocals and almost African style percussion are brilliantly mixed along with a thundering guitar and bells (?) that really bring an added dimension to a fine album. There is an aggressiveness to her voice that belies the confidence she feels as a musician that is now in the third successful band and most likely the most fulfilling.
A note: This album is being reviewed six months after it came out, because frankly I didn’t realize it had come out. I’d heard of Mrs. Dobson through the grapevine and had a passing interest, but really had no idea she and her band were quite this talented. So, my apologies for the delay, but on my end it was well worth it as the album, as you can plainly see from my rating above, is a fantastic debut.
Best Song: Ships – The best song on an album is rarely the first one, but this time it really sets the pace for the rest of the album.