Vesper is the dance pop duo spawned in Chicago between Zak Fox Jablow whom of which produced for names like Chance the Rapper, the late Mac Miller – and songstress Samantha Humphreys. They are releasing their debut album Years on vinyl April 5th, digitally April 18th, with a release party at Chicago’s Empty Bottle two days prior on Tuesday, April the 16th.
Made in Chicago yet they have recently moved to Nashville and finished the writing and production of their first album. Prior to this project they had dropped a few singles, some of which have made it on to Years including Sway Better and Electric. Their 10 song LP is perfect in its length and progression offering a listener a warm mixture of piercingly beautiful vocals reminiscent of the late Dolores O’riordan, Regina Spektor, Natasha Bedingfield and funky, swooping rhythmic sections which reminded me of Flying Lotus, an alternative Mike Will Made It, and Chrome Sparks. Although comparisons nonetheless, this record Years is a unique sonic experience.
My personal favorite song on the album: Bird starts with a hip hop like sample going into Samantha singing lyrics about her mother giving her one last piece of advice before passing. A hauntingly gorgeous tune. “And again I was an orphan, who newly hit the ground“, “When my sorrow sneaks up onto me, I think of what I’ve let go, and somehow its gone like a shadow of a bird across my window!“. When the lyrics aren not hitting you and evoking emotions over past traumas, their somewhat cryptic style offers much to be thought about by a listener and fan.
Ghosts was another favorite from Years. Like every song on their LP there is much aural texture and dynamics within the sonic production and musical composition. Every song has build ups, bass drops, rhythmic drop offs containing melody, and vocal stacks with Samantha’s layered harmonies. Vesper has what gives a song a potentially timeless experience to listen to rather than another song to be consumed. Lyrics I enjoyed and felt: “We’ve got a heart but someone’s trying to take it, we’ve got a heart but something’s always pushing it around!” and “There’s ghosts in this city, there’s ghosts in our town, their words are so pretty, but they’ll only drag you down!“. Again, much depth to their almost early 90’s grunge rock like lyrical structure.
Samantha Humphreys carries the vocals of the duo whereas Zak Jablow makes sure the instrumental production will make you want to dance and jam. They do however have a duet on the record. Offering a glance at Zak’s earnest vocals and a tenor softness which is slightly emulative of the male counterpart of Boyce Avenue. Better has Zak and Samantha’s voices intertwined on the refrain, giving the entire LP vocal diversity as well! Not that I would not listen to a record of only Samantha Humphreys but Zak’s voice was pleasant to listen to! Zak also contributes background vocals on the songs Married to the Night and Sway.
Listening to the record Years straight through, I felt a sense of rejuvenation. The music offers pleasantries and traumas to think about all the while making you want to shuffle dance on the floor. I am excited to see them live at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, April 16th. I hope you join me!