The summer may have finally faded for another year, but there are still a few things that can joyously reignite feelings of seemingly endless and carefree days. The opening bars of Maz O'Connor's latest single are a case in point. That gentle piano, like a trickling stream, makes way for Maz's captivating vocals.
'Jessica' is a tale of a close teenage friendship, memories that mix pleasure and pain, of stealing wine from your parents and watching 'Stand by Me' on repeat. Of how simple and how complicated those times could be. As with so many of O'Connor's songs, it is full of insight and honesty, it is a narrative to engage with.
Those familiar with Maz O'Connor's previous work will have noticed a shift in style of late. After releasing three folk-infused albums between 2015 - 2019, O'Connor felt that she needed to find something new to inspire her.
That inspiration came to O'Connor as she took long walks around South London in early 2020, and conceived of alter-ego: vulpes, inspired by the foxes who claimed the streets during lockdown. ‘The concept of vulpes came from wanting to explore different parts of myself,’ she says.
She explains the concept further: ‘My music had become pretty serious. I wanted to find joy, mischief, wildness.’ she began working with composer and arranger Will Gardner: 'What was brilliant about it was that we had no plan or expectations...We only wanted to make something that made us smile.’
'Jessica' is the second single from her new incarnation, it follows the quietly mesmerising 'Soho' from earlier this year. Ever the storyteller, 'Soho' was a lament for the slow erosion of all that was quirky, lovable, and independent in one of London's most celebrated corners.
Both songs are from the forthcoming 'vulpes' album which she has co-written and co-produced with Gardner. The album is an ambitious song-cycle set in the city at night. It explores themes of anxiety, isolation, inequality, capitalism, insomnia, regret, sexuality, spirituality, absent friends, and the search for redemption in an age of consumerism.
vulpes will be launched with a live show on November 3rd at London’s Kings Place, as part of the London Unwrapped Festival.
Tickets are available at:
Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.
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