Words and vocals.
Any singer, songwriter, rapper, speech giver, PRESIDENT!!! worth their salt knows that both are extremely important together. Tossing them out recklessly communicates being flippant, but using them both communicates so much. Anger, strength, sadness, resignation, lack of seriousness. The power of words is all in not just what you say, what you don’t say, how you say it, how you don’t say it, the meanings behind it…everything gives words delivered its weight. Godless Goddess, the latest album from Spartan Jet Plex, is a masterclass in using your voice to further express your vulnerability, but where in the past Nancy’s vocals convey a broken and tired soul, she now sounds more controlled and assured in many ways than one.
On the very first track “Stop”, Nancy turns her very own advice regarding mental care into a pop mantra. Her looped vocals acting as both vocal riff and a self-medicating chant of sound. It becomes almost fitting that directly after, her collaborator/sidekick of sorts Berko Lover communicates her tension in just a few words on the “Chronostasis Interlude”: “Please take it easy on me”.
The best thing about Berko being almost an unofficial SJP collaborator is that her singing vocals communicate its own sense of turmoil and vunerability. Whether it be of fear, resignation or anger, in true Kim Gordon fashion, those six words communicate Kells very state. While you wouldn’t be wrong in taking it as a personal cry for help, after hearing the whole album, those words may as well be its own prayer because after that, it is almost as if Kells uses the entire album to transition from helpless to fearless. Her songs aren’t without her shoegazed leanings, however. But unlike the noisy blast of shoegaze hiding a vocalist’s vocals in the secretive haze, the haze of each song communicates Kells’ own shyness and own softness, but somehow, softness becomes a weapon.
Like I said, a great singer knows the power of words as well as her vocals, and on “Hurt”, where the words “I can hurt you/Try to survive” is its own quiet sneer, she speaks with the confidence of many an abuse/trauma victim. Think on it too much and both the words and her self-restraint from delivering it any louder may both frighten you.
As a musician, labelowner and activist, Kells, of all people, knows that in order to be on the strong side of history, it helps to tackle your own demons. If you can fight and acknowledge those, then you can fight anything or anyone in your path. And while doing so, both context, simplicity and the emotions in your voice are everything. That being said, I don’t think Nancy would think you were completely off the mark, if you called Godless Goddess another album of healing. Where STFU acknowledges the bullshit with a sense of anger and resignation, Godless Goddess is best taken as her own personal boss up.
Your 76th favorite black Aspergian musical polymath (Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, blogger, producer, poet) from Boston.