When Jessie Torrisi opens her mouth the sound that comes out is a sweet mixture of one part vintage torch singer, one part fierce rocker chick and a hidden dash of sensitive singer-songwriter.
The eight songs on her debut record, Brûler, Brûler (French for “burn, burn”) are like silver-lined clouds with tinges of hope within the longing raindrops.
While Jessie hails from New York where she was a drummer for dozens of various rock bands she pulls musical inspiration from previous addresses in New Orleans and Brazil as well as her new hometown of Austin.
The record opens with Hungry Like Me, a song about a free-spirited soul looking for someone to match their ravenous appetite for adventure with a fun drum track and “ooh, ooh, ooh” backing.
X in TeXas is a quirky breakup song (“I’ll give up Stetson leather, just unbuckle me from you”) that could have easily gone too kitsch but she pulls it off by wisely steering clear of an obvious countrified melody.
The opening lines of Breeze in Carolina are reminiscent of an early Linda Ronstadt ballad, a broken heart aching with the question “is the breeze in Carolina sweeter than my love?”
But for all the pain, there’s songs like the smoky, desire-laden Cannonball and the optimistic-without-being-cheesy, piano driven Brighter Side closing the album on a high note.
And with beautiful production by William Berlind (Colin McGrath, Paul Phillips) there’s lots of layers and subtle auditory surprises that make your ears jump as they notice accents of horns and glockenspiel.