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Jackie Ransom – Final Exposure

Final Exposure

Final Exposure

Final Exposure, Jackie Ransom’s debut full-length and one in the most recent litter of excellent PopNihil releases, mixes a love for dark, low-register songwriters like Nick Cave with synthesizer obsession. Leading the cassette is a dirge-like, haunting electro ballad titled “The Angler.” Co-mingling synth lines, rhythmic and ambient alike, snake along drum-machine patterns before Ransom’s coaxing, sirenic vocals—front and center in the mix—surreptitiously sneak their way into the song and, in a perhaps more sinister twist, the listener’s mind. The song, reminiscent of marine murder ballads like PJ Harvey’s unforgettable “Down by the Water,” provides an excellent introduction to Ransom’s creepy, though strangely danceable, world.

Jackie Ransom

Jackie Ransom

I want to spend some time talking about her song “The Getaway”—the second song on Final Exposure’s B-side. It’s an absolutely stunning track featuring the tightest pop songwriting in the collection and one of the most monstrously triumphant—so goddamn big—choruses I’ve heard. Adding to Ransom’s synths and vocals, and the real coup de grace, is a very well-placed guitar ran through distortion. It swirls alongside a swelling synth, which reaches a sublime pinnacle before crashing down to begin the ascent again like some musically cognizant Sisyphus.

Filling out the various textures and sounds of the release is Ransom’s well-endowed synth collection, the identities of which, much to synth fans’ dismay, she holds close to her chest, though she is up-front about her love for Casio synths. Because of her eclectic trappings, however, she does manage to create consistently interesting sounds throughout the seven songs on Final Exposure. Aside from the diverse and impressive sounds of machines and vocals, however, Ransom excels because she writes memorable songs. While her synths and voice would be enough for a compelling release, her compositional chops make the juice all that sweeter.

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Track List:

A1) The Angler
A2) Final Exposure
A3) Sanitized Evil
B1) Waltz of the Dead
B2) The Getaway
B3) Cell Death
B4) A Desperate Breath

Rating: 8/10
Written by: Jordan Reyes
Label: PopNihil (United States) / pop066 / Tape
Minimal Synth / Darkwave / Industrial / Dark Pop