NEW MUSIC: Jep and Dep – Cruel Moon (video)

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Jep and Dep are back with ‘Cruel Moon’, the first single from their forthcoming second LP, due out this August. Over the last couple of years they’ve developed a cohesive and atmospheric style, built on strong monochromatic imagery in their photos and videos – the perfect marriage to their sparse, sometimes lush, always compelling folk-noir sound.

Jessica Cassar and Darren Cross take a strong conceptual approach to their craft and so we chatted with Cassar to find a bit more about the songwriting and video-making process.

SONGWRITING AND RECORDING

“Like all of our songs, ‘Cruel Moon’ was a collaborative effort between the two of us. We always write our songs together. The difference with ‘Cruel Moon’ is that I sung all vocals and Darren played the guitar unlike our other songs were we might sing separate parts or harmonise. We didn’t feel ‘Cruel Moon’ needed much more that as we felt the vocals and guitar were equally strong and spoke to each other beautifully. In terms of recording, Darren produced the whole album and composed most of the arrangements, adding his signature ambient sounds. The song (and the album) has a pretty creepy vibe as we recorded it between 12-5am as Darren’s studio was wedged between a years worth of constant renovations from the neighbours. Recording at that time fucking annoyed us at first, but it actually turned into a positive and contributed to the song (and albums) overall darkness.”

THE VIDEO

“We have not collaborated too many times with our clips, partly due to finances but mostly because we enjoy making our videos. As Jep and Dep’s aesthetic is pretty strong and signature it was important for us not to compromise on that and have people understand that. Having said that, collaborating with other artists is never just about you, it’s a joint effort with many ideas coming together, so it was just as important for us to be a bit more flexible. You can see that coming through with ‘Cruel Moon’ as it takes more of a narrative and traditional flow we had not experimented with before, which ended up working well for the film-noir inspired clip the team (Isabella Andronos, director) came up with.”

THE NEW ALBUM

“We plan to independently release our second album in August, much like we did with Word Got Out. We feel this album has solidified our “folk-noir” sound and pushed us much further into a Lynchian, noir-core realm. It’s far more minimal than Word Got Out and far more haunting.”

Jep and Dep officially launch the single at Golden Age Cinema & Bar in Surry Hills, Sydney on May 25th.

ALBUM REVIEW: Jep and Dep – Word Got Out

Rating8a0668997781_10Writing and recording widescreen and cinematic music, where mood and atmosphere is paramount, and conveying it with minimal instrumentation shows both great restraint and ambition. That is exactly the musical world that Jessica Cassar and Darren Cross (Gerling) have created on their debut album Word Got Out.

The cover image of the pair stepping out of darkness and into an unknown light sums up the approach they’ve taken both artistically and aesthetically, from the black & white artwork to the rich noir romanticism in their songs that reads like a Wim Wenders tale of lovers entwined or one of Jim Jarmusch’s alternative realities.

The core of the album rides on Cross’ acoustic guitar and the duo’s voices that complement each other so wonderfully well. These aren’t just sweet duets, they speak of doomed relationships, dark corners and emotional shadows and Cassar’s voice negotiates those different moods with great versatility, swinging from a folk coo (‘My Man’) to an anguished and impassioned plea (‘Bobby’) or the gently soaring melancholia on ‘Wake Up Call’. Cross almost plays a supporting role, an echo or a counterpoint, a conversational partner or a sparring one. He delivers his words in a weary tone with a similar happy/sad quality to that of the masterful Townes Van Zandt.

There is drama aplenty in these songs yet they never shy away from a hook. ‘Babe Come Down’ buries itself in your short term memory with its catchiness, second single ‘Granted’ swirls and billows on a bed of stirring strings while ‘Bobby’ could be a lost Motown single by The Supremes in a parallel monochrome universe. ‘Tears In The Rain’ possesses the brilliant central line “You can’t hide your tears in the rain” which comes over like a gothic Lee and Nancy or Cave and Minogue if they were able to kick back and write songs together without the veil of celebrity killing the party.

Ten songs in thirty minutes and nothing outstays its welcome. This is an album built on the back of well-written songs and arranged, sung and played with an eye for detail and the concise deployment of subtle theatricality. It conveys emotion, transports the listener and creates captivating vignettes that pull you in deeper and deeper on each listen.

Chris Familton

Buy Word Got Out via Bandcamp