“And it all feels harder than normal,” Jess Cornelius sings at the opening of the new single “No Difference,” over a spare, echoing guitar line. “And you can’t believe it’s happened again,” she continues, the last word stretched to about seven or eight syllables, and the song wafts forward, tuneful emotional persistence carried by winds that evolve from gentle breeze to full gale.
A New Zealand native who made her name on the Australian music scene and had since relocated to Los Angeles, Cornelius already has a healthy discography under then name Teeth & Tongue. Eventually somewhat of a collaborative venture, Teeth & Tongue was realistically Cornelius’s solo work under a group name, which makes it feel significant that she’s lately set that moniker aside. Beginning with the 2017 EP Nothing is Lost, she’s signing her own name to her work, leading to speculation about a greater level of personal disclosure, even as that’s a theory she’s quick to dismiss.
“No Difference” carries an emotional openness and dreamy swirl that proves Angel Olsen isn’t the only pony who can swing that particular sonic trick. And yet the cut also has a steady assurance that marks it as purely Cornelius’s, beholden to no one else, even with hints of her Kiwi accent occasionally slipping to the forefront (the clipped intonation on the word “happy” is a notably charming example). The tracks billows and glides, operating in a place of sly indie authenticity.