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Essie Jain Until the Light of Morning Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

New York-based folk artist’s third album is a beautiful set of baby-soothing songs.

Mike Diver 2011

Well this certainly isn’t the third album fans of New York-based English singer Essie Jain might’ve been expecting. Rather than follow her two previous collections with further evolved excursions into indie-folk, she here presents a deliberately stripped-back collection designed, quite specifically, to lull a baby to sleep. The good news for any puffy-eyed parents reading these words: there seems every chance that Until the Light of Morning will work a treat.

So it’s a children’s album, effectively, any lyrics simple and delivered clearly. The sequencing makes for a natural passage from story time to deep sleep, with opener What a Big Wide World talking of making dreams come true while chimes ring out around easy rhymes about cuddly bears. The final two tracks are elegant piano instrumentals – nothing fancy, but wonderfully performed and truly soothing.

Of particular note here is Tip Toes, perhaps the most brilliant four minutes on show. No words, just Jain alone at the piano. To a baby it might well point the way to the Land of Nod; to an adult, it’ll shut out the world for a brief spell, and maybe even encourage the tiniest of lumps to lodge in the throat courtesy of its exquisite form. Lay it over any instance of self-reflection and it ups the emotional ante tenfold. The Magic Star, the only vocals gentle "oohs", is similarly enveloping.

A storybook and more products to complement this release are planned – baby clothes are already available (though at the prices being asked for, perhaps get the grandparents to cough up) – but they’re unnecessary extras, really. This release works just fine on its own, at least to grown-up ears. And should anyone who’s put it to the test on their offspring want to confirm its effectiveness at bed time, please do let us know.

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