Jane Doe – Midnight Spell
Self Released – 2017
Jane Doe are a charming four-piece Paris-based band comprised of two acoustic guitars, an electric bass and Spanish lute along with well-crafted songs sung in dazzling three-part harmony. Their new EP, “Midnight Spell,” is a promising debut, a collection of five tunes that have a fresh and deep-reaching sound.
Upon first listen, their French accents aren’t obvious, it takes a few minutes to realize that English is likely a second language. Still, they have full control of the American roots sound, bending the harmonies as well as any English language trio.
With only five songs on the EP, and a handful of tunes floating around on YouTube, there isn’t much to go on with this young band … other than strong musicianship. The careful listener will notice something unique in the vocals, likely due to the French inflection over the English lyrics.
Those heavenly harmonies frequently go down a lyrical dark road, making the songs even sweeter. The quiet opener Midnight Spell, is ominous and beautiful, perhaps a story of young lovers caught in a disaster or even a plague… “The harvest of death at last/Sure won’t be poor/ I swear, our life is sharp, and won’t last long.”
Another highlight, Rootless Folks, has a traditional English feel, incorporating elements of Spanish folk, as does every song on this release to some extent. The searching lyrics describe “two young daydreamers” passing by, “rootless folks” indeed. Once again, the harmonies are exquisite.
Old Sisters has a blues quality that evolves into a near march. Lyrics like “Old sisters of hell” provide some great imagery in any language. Una Luz, (A Light) follows. The only song on the album that is sung entirely in Spanish, the tune cascades along like a carefree waltz through the hills.
The four musicians that make up Jane Doe have diverse influences from American folk and blues, to 60’s pop, French chanson, Irish and Middle Eastern sounds. In other words, they don’t fit neatly into a rigid category.
The band describes itself as “sensitive and elusive, blessed with four heads, eight hands and thirty-three vocal cords.” Of course, the “Jane Doe” reference suggests an unknown anonymous female. Although the individual members remain somewhat mysterious, if this EP is any indication, this Jane Doe is likely to become more well known very soon.
Order Midnight Spell via Bandcamp here: https://jdoe-fr.bandcamp.com/