Album Review: Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas – “Telephone”

June 23, 2017Pola Bunster

The universal language of music is becoming increasingly more empowering as the expressive art enters into an even more open-armed and accepting place for connection than ever before. Female musicians are having their (much-needed) time in the sun these days, taking over the world with their formations and their hellos. It becomes more and more inspiring to see genres that were otherwise male dominated (let’s be real, so is the whole industry) now have strong females leading the charge. And at the helm? Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas.

Riding the wave of their first and wildly successful album, Secret Evil, It’s been three years since our ears have heard a full release from the Detroit band. We caught their live set at Gramps one night on a live music binge and were instantly floored by Hernandez’s raw energy and the band’s impeccable timing. Even more surprising still is their ability to translate that same fire onto a recorded product and their newest album Telephone is no exception.

Released today, Telephone is a deep step into a more rock-fueled sound and a shift from the soulful identity listeners might have grown accustomed too. But have no fear, it still is entirely identifiable as their own. The album starts hard, passionate, and full of punk rock-bred abandon–nothing new for the six piece outfit here. Right off the bat, their evolved sound is reminiscent of acts like The Black Keys and The Runaways, with a lot of Alabama Shakes Brittany Howard’s sharp vibrato and nerve.

“Telephone,” the album’s title track, brings things back down to a groove with the same overarching bubbling intensity that encapsulates the entire album. It then transitions to “Hummingbird” where Jessica’s voice rings clear and powerfully with a little bit of The Beatles’ “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” complete with a circus-like beat and cacophonous horns. The album’s transitions are as juxtaposed as the songs the emotions are built on, going from a sweet side like “Break Your Heart” to a Bomba Estereo-esque funk in “Bad at Loving You.”

In case you couldn’t tell already, Jessica Hernandez herself is a Miami-bred talent, her roots manifesting into a second version of the album recorded entirely in Spanish and also released on the same day as its English counterpart. That same respect for roots and creativity is what makes us think of M.I.A or Stantogold on “Oh No” and other female-led acts like The Ting Tings on “Apologies.”

As the album winds to a close, your ears and soul travel through a kaleidoscope of nostalgic emotions like childish abandon and the intense feeling of self-love that can only be experienced after a heartbreak. “Hot to Trot” is a perfect example of this, taking prisoners as it bull-dozes through a perfectly fun record–easily the most badass track in the bunch. “Fire and Ice” is Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas’ fierce goodbye, oozing will cool and burning with intensity. A perfect end to a powerfully upbeat and raucous sophomore album.

Listen to the whole thing here: