Jess Ribeiro is a shape-shifting musical enigma. The near-untouchable quality of her recorded output is astonishingly consistent and the wait for new music is always worthwhile. Ribeiro’s 2012 debut album My Little River was an award-winning folk-country masterpiece while her second album (2015’s Kill It Yourself) was a slow-burning indie-noire masterpiece which left reviewers scrambling for superlatives.
For Jess Ribeiro, making a record is a lot like falling in love: it’s a dive into the unknown with the belief that the currents will carry you. With album number three, LOVE HATE (released April 2019), the analogy could not be more apt. Ribeiro has kissed the swampy humidity of the Australian Music Prize shortlisted Kill It Yourself goodbye, and embraced the precise downstrokes and valve-amp hum of a very New York lineage, from the Velvets through to Blondie and Talking Heads. Produced by Ben Edwards (Aldous Harding/Marlon Williams), it’s capped by those lethally cool vocals for which Ribeiro is revered.
On LOVE HATE Ribeiro traverses the landscapes of love: its amorous peaks, its rough rivers, and its dark valleys. Much like a concept album – Ribeiro ponders the metamorphosis of the many stages of love –attraction, passion, infatuation, adulation, longing, submissiveness, and madness.
Ribeiro’s songs are cinematic in scope: it’s music that travels, across deserts like a Western, through city streets like Film Noir. Narrative and poetic, Ribeiro’s lyrics are rhythmic and evocative, conjuring images that are dimly-lit, but nonetheless electric.