Jess and the Bandits - Here We Go Again
Some artists have to take the long road to fame and fortune. Hey, not everyone can be a teenage superstar like Justin Bieber or annointed by the music industry like James Bay. Texan turned Brit Jessica Clemmons has taken a slightly more varied path to get to where she wants to be, despite having the pipes to get herself noticed much sooner. After a few nearly moments - an appearance on American Idol in 2005, two solo album releases and an EP - she has found herself a new role as frontwoman for Jess & the Bandits. As it turns out joining up with Dave, Ricci, Steve and Louis is the best thing she could have done.
Here We Go Again is peerless in its delivery of melodic, catchy, mainstream friendly country-rock. The earworm chorus of finger-on-the pulse body positive anthem ‘Nitty Gritty’ and the tinges of pop on ‘Ready Set’ and ‘My Name Is Trouble’ are songwriting by numbers, yet full of joy. ‘Getting Into Something’ sounds straight off the Nashville production line but is no weaker for it. Even their cover of ‘Wichita Lineman’ is more than passable. And for the first time Clemmons resists singing the hell out of everything, despite all the ballads, most, like ‘What If’, cleaved from her 2014 EP of the same name. Add another name to the (short) list of successful UK country acts: the mix of Clemmons’ power vocals and the band’s tight playing is the clincher.