Meet one of Mute Records newest and most promising outfits of 2012, Beth Jeans Houghton and The Hooves of Destiny. Releasing her much-anticipated debut album, Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, the Transylvanian-born wolf-raised tobacco chewer has grown up a little and grown up a lot since her 2008 dive into the musical scene. Her voice is still as salty and seductively stiff as ever, but there is an air of lady-that-is-fresh-and-new to her sultry sound.
Beth Jeans is a swanky sex-bot of epic proportions, with a voice like honey and a face like heaven—this glam-rock ingenue is here to blow your skirt up and whisper sweet nothings. With an attitude that’s all old school rock ‘n’ roll and a wardrobe of rainbow goodness, before she even opens her cupid-lipped mouth you can feel the heat. Her giant Edie Sedgwick eyes peer out from heavy lashes, her baby bird face oozes soul with every note she hums.
With a hearty mix of eccentric instruments, Beth Jeans Houghton and her band, The Hooves of Destiny, composed of ( Dav Shiel – drums, cajon, keyboard, vocals, steel pan; Rory Gibson – bass, vocals; Findlay Macaskill – violin, vocals, eyebrows; Blazey Blaze – trumpet, vocals, guitar, drums) create a sound that’s gospel on DMT. It’s a musically spiritual experience to a land of banjo and bounty. While Beth Jeans has the voice and good looks—the boys have the heavy-weighted sound to fill in the sappy parts with true rock ‘n’roll in the purest of sense. The album is consistently thick and interesting. Each time I took it for another spin, I found a different piece of music that made me fall in love. Lacey and deep, the sound is hearty and beautiful.
The album as a whole is old in the sensibility of its use of organic sounds, bare of the whomps and untz of her peers. Beth Jeans voice stays true to its folky roots and finds a sweet contrast to the jittery beats that set the pace for the album. The album opener, “Sweet Tooth Bird,” kicks off to the auditory equivalent of 12-dozen humans marching in perfect unison, so is the visual which Beth Jeans and the Hooves of Destiny set the scene. It’s filled with a manic mumbling of breathy wails that tinkle and trip over the starry arrangement of horns, crash cymbals and bass pedals. A beautiful and haunting french horn can be heard peppering its echoey belt and Beth Jeans’ vocal chords limp and shake in the most tragically perfect way. Her voice is so deep, like the quick current of a river bed, it’s earthy and inarguably barreled—it just soothes you.
Yours, Truly Cellophane Nose brings you moments of campy musical theater in songs like “Humble Digs,” which are followed by bone crushing scores of weepy love songs like “Veins.” It’s a musical roller coaster of love, love and love is it’s love that is the common thread. The way in which Beth Jeans presents such an over done idea it brilliant. It’s fresh yet retro, borrowed from the folk women of days gone. Indeed, Beth Jeans takes her colorful own sense of self and splashes it into every sound you hear. You can practically see the color with each crash of a cymbal or pluck of a guitar string, its bright coral flourishes with golden polka dots dancing through splats of glistening paint.
“Atlas” sounds like a sappy French film as Beth Jeans words move past you in black and white pirouettes. Especially poetic are tracks like, the aforementioned “Humble Digs,” “The Barely Skinny Bone Tree” and “Carousel.” The entirety of the Yours, Truly Cellophane Nose has this retro sound: think Joni Mitchell vacationing in the English countryside, sprinkle in a little mescaline, and add a dash of punk rock twenty-something angst and voila! However, the album also boasts a more refined and sweet tone. Theatrical, artistic and romantic, with a hint of Rimbaud and Zappa—the lyrics throughout the album are sensational, like peppery and floral notations that dance through lovers’ minds. From instrumentals, lyrics to production—Yours, Truly Cellophane Nose is a beautifully polished album that transcends like a fairytale. It starts strong, and closes with a happy ending.
Words by: Jasmine Richelle Hickle