Beneath the Noise
Portland chanteuse Jasmine Ash released her fourth studio full-length on Valentine’s Day. The opener, “Cut Up,” features appropriately tough-love sentiments that sit well with a mix of hard-hitting beats and lilting melodies. “Lulls” boasts hip production reminiscent of Saint Etienne’s 1991 album Foxbase Alpha; Ash’s voice sounds a little like Tanya Donelly's, but Ash’s approach holds more charm. This rubs well against the grain of the song’s lovelorn lyrics as she sings “We’re so in love with what we’ve lost/Everyone goes into their lulls/All these windows open doors." Though Ash’s songs have been featured on such TV shows as The Good Wife, Ugly Betty, and The Hills, as well as commercials, her gossamer songs like the alluring “Too Calm” sound more artful than commercial. Conversely, there are infectious numbers here (like the catchy “Echoes” and the grooving “Killer”) where it’s clearly evident that she's at home when singing well-constructed pop songs peppered with barbed hooks.