Album Rating: 7.9 – Melancholic comfort.

Photo: Courtesy of Independent Music Promotions

Jacqui L is a Sydney-based artist who debuted her record PLANET PARALLEL 5 back in May 5th. Her artistic persona Jacqui L is a scorpion/alien form the planet PP5. With her debut album, Jacqui L hopes to convey her philosophical opinions.

There is a desire to orchestrate an otherworldly form of moodiness throughout Jacqui L’s PLANET PARALLEL 5 record that focuses on shedding light to the toxic side of reality – yet it is this eerie air that makes PP5 a bone-chilling seduction. The opener, “Happy Birthday,” is the opposite of its title where she takes you to the nightmarish confrontation of getting helplessly old. “Our yearly rendezvous is on us again / What do I have to do to wish you away?” chants Jacqui. The gospel-like chorus in the track add a theatrical touch to it, letting Jacqui L stage PP5 as a nu-metal play; every track feels like a different act where she places both beauty and ugliness side-to-side.

“Is it your lips or your body that has lied?” poses the songstress in “Frankestein.” Despite being metal, Jacqui L makes sure that her voice and rhythmic hooks boom over the atmospheric melody. You can feel this in “Frankestein” as well as in her semi-mellow track “Rich Man” where she leisurely and mockingly mocks a superficial person. “Rich man, if I prayed I pray for you,” she croons, slightly teasingly. She further dissects the poisonous territory of materialistic ambition in her next track “I’ll Covet” where her desire for “her body and his body and that car…won’t take me very far.” Jacqui L sheds light to the ego-driven hunger with invigorating builds and melancholy swirled with garish chord strikes. In “Stroke It” she croons the guilty pleasure we all indulge in when we receive compliments – the track may as well be titled “Verbal Masturbation For The Ego.”

When you step into PP5, it’s almost impossible to avoid dancing with mortality. Her most beatific track, “Decaying Orbit,” send you a continuous dose of endorphin rush where she sketches out how “You’re doing an excellent job / Of digging that grave of yours / I can see you falling in…” It is a gorgeously bizarre track where she starts unveiling her fixation with death both physically and spiritually. There is a sense of comfort and despair that she finds in mortality. The dense synth and string arrangements in “Under The Noise” grounds us to a dark soundscape where Jacqui confesses us how she finds comfort in leaving. “An I will sleep forever / Under the noise.” Switching from first person to second person, “Could Be” opens up space for its listeners to meditate on meeting their endings – whether that is literally dying or losing one’s sense of self.

Jacqui wraps up PP5 by giving voice to the existentialistic thoughts that engulf us in the morning via “Distraction.” It is the strongest point of the record and delivers a hair-raising intimacy where we feel the raw honesty tangled with the piercing strings. “Will it always be a struggle in the morning? / Will it always be a struggle? / Awaiting the next fleeting distraction…” Exploring the different types of doom and struggles that surround us, Jacqui L takes ugliness and frames it with nu-metal aesthetics that may not be digestible for everyone, but can provide a form of melancholic comfort for those who seek it.

Follow her on Facebook and get the album on Bandcamp.