Formerly known as Jesse Dee & Jacquie B, the duo has since added a permanent drummer in Matt Blackie and unveiled their new band name as Picture the Ocean. Recorded at Sound Extractor Studios in Edmonton, AB, their new self-titled record is a collection of lush alt-pop songs which draw heavily on their experiences touring over the past year as a newfound trio.
Trying desperately to describe their sound, all I can say is that Picture the Ocean sounds like the ocean. Not in a “fun-in-the-sun” kind of way, but more in a “therapeutic walk on the shore on a grey day, with your sweater wrapped around you and the cold water lapping around your toes as you escape whatever it is in your life that haunts you” kind of way. Jesse’s spritely guitar playing and Jacquie’s tinkling away on the keys/accordion is combined with their dual harmonies such that, “like a broken symphonic embrace,” the band is able to marry a beautiful yet simple orchestral sound with the morose melancholy feel that many of their lyrics carry.
This interesting juxtaposition of sound and words is seen in many of the record’s highlights, including “Being Me,” and “Wake Me Up,” which details the lonely homesickness that accompanies constantly being uprooted from home while on tour. “Scars” manages to encapsulate a bit more a light-hearted summertime feel to it despite its content that borders on the depressing. One lyric that really grabbed me was “My art is my therapy, it’s all that I’ve got.” I’d like to think that listening to finely crafted records such as this one can be is just as therapeutic for us non-musically inclined folk as writing and creating it must have been for the band in question.