One Hundred Percent (Music by Jeffe)
Early days here, a debut EP featuring the single which caught the ear of triple j’s Unearthed folk (the grammatically wobbly Whoever You Love, I’m Cool) in 2017, and the current single (Oh Dear) among the four tracks.
You’d not want to get too carried away on this small sample, but it’s a pretty good start. Certainly more than enough promise to get the young Australian singer/songwriter out of the limited local market and into the UK where Jeffe – former Sydneysider Sally Jeffreys – is now based.
It’s electronic-ish underneath and moody pop on top, without locking itself into either. It’s got emotions up front, tonally and lyrically, but vocally, overt expression of them stays in the background. Essentially, Jeffe’s method is to approach you by the side door rather than barge in through the front.
That’s amplified – an ironic use of words admittedly - by the sonic choices. The production on One Hundred Percent leans towards leanness: muted synths and low impact electronic percussion principally, coloured by splashes of prettiness, whether it is a keyboard line, a brief backing vocal addition, or marimba.
It’s nice, yes, but more than that. Already this collection is suggesting directions to hold to and ones which might be left behind soon enough unless the writing gets sharper.
The lightly sprung Undecided, with its Rufus Du Sol-like, easy in the sunshine momentum, and Whoever You Love, I’m Cool’s, jazz-pop overtones (in voice and what might be flugelhorn, or a synthesised version of one) on a barely there sound bed, have the basis of future exploration.
More time-sensitive is Oh Dear which already feels like an Amy Shark retread of a Lorde track from five years ago, all murmurings above and slightly stiff-legged beats beneath, that need an edge – anger? pain? – to show through. To a lesser extent that’s true also of Mr Memory, which is a slowly revolving minimalist ballad that has its late arriving smack of drums and firming up of the voice.
It feels underwritten, more promise than realisation for now, and not quite nailing the emotion it’s striving for. But you can see what she’s aiming for, and that’s something.
Room to grow basically.