When a band makes characteristically “pretty” music — which Thelma does, gloriously — there’s a tendency to ascribe it an otherworldly sensibility, like the songs mystically appeared out of nowhere with very little labor required. But that’s never been true, and Natasha Jacobs uses her debut full-length as a way to deconstruct these preconceptions by framing most of the songs around this view, asserting her own agency and hard work. It’s partially about her creative process, yes, but it’s also about how she is treated as a person: “I am no peach to be plucked from the wing of a tree,” she sings on one of the singles. “Ripened and ready to be consumed by thee.” On “Moxie,” Jacobs offers up a powerful assertion of self by using a word often used to discount a woman’s individuality: “But you could not give me what was mine/ Had to claim my body and my mind/ What I choose to do with them is fine.” Jacobs and the rest of the band — which includes Daniel Siles on drums, Maciej Lewandowski on bass, and Juan Pablo Siles — construct compelling towers of noise together, using beauty as a scythe and cutting through the dark with an assured hand. Their debut album is intoxicating, and you can listen to it in full below.
Thelma is out 3/10 via Tiny Engines.