Bernadette Seacrest & Her Yes Men: No More Music By The Suckers
Bernadette Seacrest may look like a Goth-Punk pin-up model, but she sings like a classic jazz diva. I was shocked to discover that this voice that seems plucked from some 1930s speakeasy belongs to a very contemporary female. No More Music By The Suckers – named for a Public Enemy song – was Seacrest’s debut album, and features a mix of standards and originals. The lush collection layers Bernadette’s sultry voice with the brassy jazz instrumentation of her Yes Men for a sound that is sizzling, steamy, and often bathed in shadow.
“My Man” begins with a vintage jazz sound and Seacrest singing in a sultry tone with a slightly Billesque inflection, then perks up at the end with robust horns and Bernadette letting out a wail before sliding back into that subtle sexiness. Songs like “Tango”, “Lullaby”, and the seductive “Body & Soul” have a similar mix of sensual chanteuse vocals, jazz noir rhythm, and blaring horns.
The stand out “Cold In My Bed” muffles Seacrest’s molasses-drenched velvet vocals and the band’s broody brass for a low-fi torch effect. Seacrest infuses new life and desire into Mama Cass’ “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”, and portrays a homewrecker with a guilty conscience in the simmering “Her Tears Break My Heart”. The howling “So Cruel” as well as the combustible “Sweet Salvation” really show off the strength, depth, and range of Bernadette’s voice.
As if she hadn’t already invoked the spirit of Billie Holiday several times on the album already, Bernadette successfully and flawlessly tackles the chilling “Strange Fruit” for the finale.