Jac Beth is a twenty-one year old artist who sings and plays piano, guitar, ukulele and sitar. I was kind of bummed when listening to her release Landscapes that I only really got to hear her vocals and guitar (except the last song which has sparse piano). Landscapes is a demo quality release which showcases some talent that hasn’t been properly harnessed yet. Beth has an exotic, dark voice that at her best reminded me of Fiona Apple and PJ Harvey.
It sounds like the songs were recorded with one mic possibly two. The sound quality itself ends up being the biggest detriment to these songs. At the tender age of twenty-one she has an ample amount of time to get better sounding recording in the future but let it be known if she wants to build a large fan base and compete with popular acts the production will have to improve.
The songs themselves are meager beginnings but I thought there was evident talent you usually don’t see with someone so young. “Mind MInes” is the highlight of Landscapes. Beth strums basic chords that wouldn’t be much without her vocals, which ultimately carry the song. Her lyrics aren’t completely clear because of the production, which ultimately left me guessing.
The one thing I did understand is the lyric “I don’t know how to change,” which repeats towards the end of the song. Take advantage of posting lyrics on Bandcamp is my advice here, especially if they are the main component of the song. As the song progresses she adds soft percussion which adds a bit of energy to the song.
The next two songs “Mind Eyes” and “Melting Max” revolve around nothing more than an acoustic guitar and vocals. She closes with the fourteen-plus-minute “My Tongue Has Eyes,” which contains some piano. The song is haunting but could have been wrapped up in less than five minutes. It’s a mostly instrumental, which unfortunately isn’t very impactful because of the sub-par production.
Music for the most part is a young person's game. Beth has been playing music for ten years and at twenty-one she has a solid foundation as a songwriter. My pragmatic advice here is to befriend a talented producer/engineer who can hopefully tap some of the potential. It might be there. If she wants to compete with the best and make a go or it in music she is going to have to take her music to the next level.
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