The best characters are always worlds unto themselves, and Jacqui L’s scorpion-esque alien from Planet Parallel 5 is certainly developed. This album skillfully creates the world of PP5, though perhaps one with more humanity than you’d expect.
It is the deeply rooted emotions that make the album accessible. Philosophy is inherently human, and Jacqui L’s meanderings on social and mythological figures on “I’ll Covet” and literary allusions (“I never know if you’re Jekyll or Hyde / Is it your lips or your body that has lied?”) on “Frankenstein” are proof that these are ideas that could only come from someone who understands humanity enough to want to reach beyond it.
And she does reach beyond–the background vocals on “Rich Man” lilt addictively, and genre explorations like the jazzy “Cold” features hissing cymbals and a twisting path of large and soft moments. The album finds balance between being heavy and leaning towards pop — it’s this diversity that will keep fans hooked. “Under the Noise” and “Could Be” provide release from intensity and allow the listener to float for a moment, but “Stroke It” kicks it off again with a solid beat that is easy to lose yourself in.
While the second half of the album loses some of the melodic hooks that the first half featured, it boasts the careful attention to track order and levels that Jacqui L is so skilled at, and “Distraction”—the closing track—is an album highlight with its luscious intro and vocals that seem to creep around a corner before expanding into a spacious ascension.