Cure for Dreaming is an appropriate title for Jenny Gillespie’s latest album. The music on this release is a mix of jazzy impressions and contemporary piano stylings that, much like a dream, shift and morph seemingly at whim. Jenny’s breathy and light-as-a-feather voice is at times reminiscent of Shawn Colvin, but more often resembles Sarah McLachlan’s airy style.
The songs on Cure for Dreaming often take unexpected turns. Tempos change without notice, or a quirky synth effect slyly slides in, keeping the listener guessing as to which direction the song will go from one moment to the next. Compositional choices such as these help enhance Jenny Gillespie’s imaginative lyrics that draw from both nature and society.
Utilizing musicians who bring with them experience working with artists as disparate as David Bowie and Alison Krauss, Jenny and engineer Paul Bryan capture some notable moments. “Last Mystery Train” combines a plaintive sounding slide guitar and a hopeful piano to conjure a song about a woman contemplating the infinite. “Involuntary Sway” turns things optimistic with a cheerful electric piano and Gillespie’s lyrics about the joys of being in love. “Pain Travels (Chakra Huckster)” is a lovely ballad that analogizes the impermanence of the human body with a fleeting relationship.
Cure for Dreaming won’t be for everyone. It’s not an album that reveals itself immediately via catchy choruses and simple hooks. However, given time, the record’s many twists and turns become familiar, and Jenny’s beautiful vocals and poetic lyrics come into focus. Patient listeners who appreciate the sensitive and thoughtful crop of singer-songwriters who came into prominence in the early nineties (and undoubtedly inspired Gillespie) will definitely find something to love here.