Guise “Don’t Come Back”
Released on Friday 25th February, ‘Don’t Come Back’ is the first installment of what will be their debut studio album and it sees front woman Jess Guise tackling a complicated love affair with uptempo chord progressions, and emotive lyricism to stop you in your tracks.
Talking about the single, Jess says:
“This isn’t a song about one particular person so much as a string of disastrous decisions. It’s about the brutal transience and sheer depressing turnover of romantic entanglements I found myself in living in London during my 20s, and about crashing headlong into people who just bounce off and bounce along like dodgems. It’s also about sometimes being the dodgem myself, and not giving myself too much of a hard time about it.”
‘Don’t Come Back’ sees GUISE hone down their staple acoustic sounds, with a touch of nonchalance. Having initially had plans to leave ‘Don’t Come Back’ out of the album, Jess teases that collaborator and husband Frank Turner, “told me I was an idiot,” for not considering it in the album. “And into the record it went” she says. With a country/pop hybrid in mind, Jess enlisted a cast of friends to bring her vision to life, with Callum Green thrashing out the drums in just two-takes, Lukas Drinkwater bringing his upright bass to the party (plus its stunning acoustic guitar solo), enlivening guitar licks courtesy of Titas Halder, and all underpinned with the deliriously catchy “bababa” backing vocals from Laura Hanna.
Praised for their 2020 EP ‘The Fun Part’ which saw the group do a UK tour with Frank Turner, this year GUISE will enter a new chapter with a debut studio album two years after their last project and all the mania that has passed in the interim. Released on 29 April, Youngest Daughter is a record filled with affecting singer-songwriter tunes written from the heart, during a particularly poignant passage of personal reflection, self-love and more. As Jess says:
“Youngest Daughter is a (mostly) autobiographical, story-so-far record. It’s home to memories and moments spanning decades of my life; it includes some songs I’ve been carrying around safely in my back pocket for years, and others that I’ve recently finished and am throwing straight out into the world. It’s an honest, personal, and self-deprecating wander through the various ways I’ve tried to follow my heart over the years.”
Across its 13 tracks, Youngest Daughter takes the listener on a voyage of love, loss, hope and personal growth; offering tender reflections on music, friends, family and all the twists and turns life can throw at you.
Produced by Frank Turner and recorded, mixed and mastered in his and Jess’s garden studio, reflective of its songs, Youngest Daughter is an album literally years in the making. With some songs dating back nearly seven years, they have been given a fresh lease of life and contemporary feel for 2022. While taking inspiration from the likes of Dar Williams and Stevie Nicks, the various backgrounds of Guise’s band members in funk, soul and jazz also give the record an eclectic feel that will endure repeated listens. As fiddles and flutes pipe up amongst songs centered around Jess’s cooing vocals and layered harmonies, its lush arrangements are married to a production that’s as sweet and soulful as the characters of the songs themselves.
Working on this project across the pandemic GUISE ran into unexpected complications due to the restrictions of lockdown. With bassist Titas seemingly stuck in Germany without his bass for just short of a year, and mixing households still forbidden, it wasn’t the easiest of processes for the group. Despite this, GUISE have still managed to curate a perfectly translucent album, with a unique origin story. Jess tells: “It seems appropriate that a record about fumbling towards the good things was a bit of a fumble to make itself, and holds little pieces of our musical journey in its nooks and crannies.”
Youngest Daughter is a beautiful accumulation of GUISE’s work so far and the summation of Jess’ own personal journey to date. An ode to acknowledging past pain and using it in your stride to celebrate new beginnings and richer memories to make, their debut album finally arrives in 2022.