Widely tipped as an artist to watch for quite some time, Jennifer Evans has finally put her cards on the table with this buoyantly jazzy debut. Works From The Dip & Foul is a record that oozes class and vibrancy while still hinting at brighter things to come. While the album’s vaudevillian sound may be too lounge room for some, Evans largely manages to elevate the record above the novelty due to her fervent air of confidence and artistic expression. Her distinctively sassy vocals and zippy melodies add charm and substance, while her appreciation of tempo and rhythm ensure a serene flow to the record.
Lavishly stylish tracks like ‘Uncomfortable Word’ – as sumptuous an album opener as you’re likely to hear – and the delightfully bluesy ‘Chilly’ add panache, but Evans is undoubtedly at her best when she’s at her most delicate. Stripped-back tunes like ‘Umemaro Babes’ and the pensive ‘Your Cause’, portray a sense of innocence and vulnerability that is largely absent on the rest of the record. Although the material grows notably laboured approaching the mid-section, with a number of tracks tending to veer off into languid, meandering territory, the record is ultimately saved by a dynamic final third which includes an ambitiously up-beat, if slightly haunting, acoustic rendition of the Massive Attack classic ‘Unfinished Sympathy’.
Works From The Dip & Foul may not possess the desired emotional intensity to be labelled a classic in the genre but, while you could certainly suggest that Jennifer Evans will have to demonstrate a bolder approach next time round, the album’s graceful pizzaz and creative endeavour make it a refreshingly honest debut.