“Belita”, meaning ‘little beauty’, is an apt title for this EP, which is both understated and charming. This work marks a more minimalist sound for Chicago-born Gillepsie, as she rightfully trusts in her arresting voice. She also trusts in the vocal talent of folk artist Sam Amidon, whose attention she grabbed with a poignant YouTube cover of his song ‘Saro’.
They open the EP together with the otherworldly ‘Creature Of Our Make’, sounding deliberately disinterested and strangely reminiscent of The Moldy Peaches. Come the chorus though, Gillepsie opens up and lets her more familiar Celtic-esque sound come to the fore. Lyrics such as ‘I’d slip into madness for those eyes’, introduce you to the graceful turns of phrase that reverberate throughout this work.
The overriding theme is the conventional one of love, but she comes at it from some unusual angles. ‘Sunshine Blood’, for instance, begins with the line ‘On the rooftop, summer wants to hold your hand/And so do I, beautiful and difficult man’. And comparing herself to explorer Ferdinand Magellan in ‘Wooden Bench’ shows, perhaps, thinking less linear than that of your average singer/songwriter.
This EP is a thoughtful, rather than powerful, outpouring of emotion, which is reflected in the subtle use of instrumentation. Spanish guitar, piano and violin are intelligently employed to match the rise and fall of vocals, or to bring in a different direction. This is particularly true of the final track, ‘Cheating Gong’, which is a descriptive, melancholy and slightly repetitive end to “Belita”.
Your life won’t change as a result of this EP, but give it a chance and you’ll be rewarded with some interesting ideas, put across in a very pleasing way. You’ll also find yourself watching out for Jenny Gillespie’s next move.