Raw and deliriously poignant, Jess Cornelius’ debut album Distance finds comfort in the symmetry of painful ends and their new beginnings. Created after her move from Melbourne to Los Angeles when she was filled with the hope of starting fresh, Distance digs less into the physical distances Cornelius has traversed, but rather her examination of the liminal spaces that exist between us.
Delivered via her smoky croon and the jittery crank of her moody acoustic ballads, the album opens with a sway and a shout on the foot-stomper “Kitchen Floor.” A self-eviscerating and yet wholly empowering ballad of command—one that soars wildly on the heels of Cornelius’ gutting wails.
In a similar vein and bearing the kind of sharp emotionality and rock sensibilities as Sharon Van Etten, Cornelius exhales a powerful intimacy. Songs like “Body Memory,” which details the aftermath of a miscarriage, and “Here Goes Nothing” illuminate the journey towards motherhood; while “Banging My Head” offers, in its raucousness, a potent visualization of her frustration. And that frustration is twofold on Distance; it batters down the expectations others had for Cornelius as not only a singer/songwriter, but as a mother.