Artistically known as Freya, Alice Jones is still in her final high school year but has firmly entered the local scene with the release of her debut EP, ‘Wildest Creatures I’ve Dreamed’ – well named given its ambient lullaby quality.
The 17-year-old Auckland singer-songwriter has previously shown her hand at Smokefree Rockquest and dabbled in gigs around her Takapuna home base, and now has this self-penned, professionally produced EP to share with the world.
Her EP’s name seems to hint at troubled relationships, loss and love, and she holds it central to the key ideas in these five songs through slow and dreamy, yet powerful lines of music. Harry Charles and Morgan Allen from Depot Sound Studios are behind the production, mostly unobtrusively helping to illustrate Freya’s high level of lyrical artistry. Freya’s beautifully crafted stories are enhanced with evocative dynamics in an outstanding example of the way sounds and their stories should dance together.
Straight off the bat, opener New Years is breathtaking. Infused with long winding string sounds the lyrics immediately indicate a Phoebe Bridges’ resonance. A sense of longing, loss and emotion is insurmountable in the final chorus.
“I’m sure I could be much much stronger but I wait for your approval, I’m sure I could be much much stronger but I wait for you to call my name” is evidence of a level of poetic creativity well beyond her years.
The recordings are a strong level up from her prior discography which consisted of heavily acoustic performances, the inclusion of diverse new sounds captivating and exciting. While the EP showcases the development in instrumental exploration throughout the tracks, her acoustic guitar riffs remain constant in the foundation of the sound.
Take You Away is another highlight and manifests the poetic writing of Freya through several key points in the track. “If I take you away, then I have no reason to stay,” reverberates throughout and again a feeling of hopelessness and loss are cleverly matched in the use of the minor chord progressions.
Bringing to mind the understated eloquence of Holly Fullbrook, ‘Wildest Creatures I’ve Dreamed’ sets the scene for the identity that Freya will surely grow into as a musician. With no sign of artist or producers reaching for a radio hit there are occasional hints of folk as a genre, but in the most part this release diverts away from typical local sounds and finds Freya already occupying a new niche in the local scene.