‘If You Were My Hero’ makes Hold Yourself Together’s marquee statement. Despite her faults, Asha Jeffries doesn’t need saving.
If you were my hero
Why was I always so sad?
Her voice aches as it delivers the words, but they come as more of a F**k You than a pleading confession. The track that follows, ‘Hold Yourself Together (Chaos II)’ reaffirms that domesticity is no cure. But this is just one of the many things she tells you as she sings with a sad voice.
What you might gather from Jeffries second collection of songs is that this is someone whose heart has been broken. More often than not she’s found herself in despair. But that’s not the message, it’s more about the floating and the in-betweenness, the sensation of being directionless or of never having been anywhere in the first place. Hold Yourself is about not knowing how to feel, being impotent against the weight of the world.
There’s a countrified edge to Asha’s music which places her work alongside contemporaries Julia Jacklin (Phantastic Ferniture or solo) and Middle Kids. Not just in terms of sound, she’s making similar statements, ones pulled from the same angst. Maybe Hold is like Jeff Buckley’s Grace too. There’s sweeping washes of guitar noise and vocal acrobatics pushing the emotional stakes. Whatever the truth of Buckley’s or Jeffries’ creative processes – it could all just be performance - their songs feel like they come from being alone in the dark, the burn out from too much drinking or the deep hours of sleepless nights. In total, they tell stories, ones of angst, despair, and drowning in problems, mainly existential.
Asha Jeffries party may not be one everybody shows up to, but she has a way of pulling a listener into the moment and the emotions that run beside. Hold Yourself Together takes you to her emotional core and bridges it to your own. You, like her, are in the middle. You’re not alone. Somehow that makes you happy.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald