Jessica Cerro, Sydney based singer-songwriter, unveils her splendidly pieced together debut full-length; Glorious Heights – proudly utilising her Montaigne moniker. Thoroughly representing a musicality just as powerful as it is invigorating, the album is a product of wild revelation, poking at all corners of soul, indie and pop and influenced by everything in between.
Bold, brilliant and bursting with feeling, the record delves into the many depths of contemporary Aussie music – revealing a quirky and nice spirited twist on pop sounds. Serenading with stellar ease, expect a combination of horns, strings and big percussive significances held together by the cooling notes visited in Cerro’s big room vocals. There’s a sincerity in the lyrics as well – with songs like Consolation Prize, as it unwraps heartfelt personal truths – “No one knows I’m dying – No one knows who’s lying”. The vocals transmit a gut-wrenching nervousness that intensifies in the choir-like presence of backing singers, and the subtle marriage of emotive piano chords and tender string section. Space echoed electronica moments bring forth an atmospheric attraction in the track Come Back To Me – Interlude. It unwinds an intimate break in the record before the track’s uplifting rebirth takes shape in the form of the song’s successor – Come Back To Me. It’s a synthy, 80s new wave arrangement that compliments Montaigne’s resounding vocal dominance.
The record holds its own weight in terms of production and mastered fullness. Unfolding an italo-disco vibe from the same eighties era is the track Greater Than Me – greeting a Duran Duran, Talking Heads influence. The song does a fantastic job of being engaging and fun but also solemn and fearless. Not subtracting from the emotion and passion as is evident throughout the rest of the record, the unforgettable vocal components that emanate out of Clip My Wings add to the fiery greatness – throwing her voice into a soaring climax of musical enlightenment. Most appealing, however, is the choice to include a hidden track within the album’s last song(s) – I’m Behind You + The Debt. I’m Behind You presents a bundle of bassline-heavy modulated honesty before a spine-tingling thrust of force is met as Montaigne’s intimate lyrics jolt forward in The Debt. A well-sung surprise to complete the album’s sprawling sonic encounters.
Really, it’s the sensible fusion of original control and respectful influence that sees Montaigne embrace her inner desire for creativity with equal parts confidence and universal range. Glorious Heights is a fitting name for an album that leaves the listener levitating in a modern cloud of Australian music that’s been crafted just right.