Get To Know – GUISE

We Say…

Released in April via Xtra Mile Recordings, Youngest Daughter is the debut album by Jess Guise, the frontwoman behind the Guide moniker. It’s been a record many years in the making, Jess working alongside producer, and husband, Frank Turner in their garden studio. The tracks went through many guises (pun most definitely intended) before Jen settled on a sound she describes as a country/pop hybrid, with a crack cast of friends brought in to breathe fresh life into Jess’s tales of love, loss and the crucial hopefulness that keeps us all going on.

The record opens with the folk-inspired strains of The Boy and the Thief, a meandering guitar line greeting the listener, before a rhythmic pulse of guitar chords takes over, joined by shimmering strings and loose, clattering drums. Lyrically the track seems to hint at the difficulty in changing our intrinsic nature, whether it’s the thief, “who just took what was there”, or the bleeding heart, that, “makes no noise and just gets on with breaking”. Elsewhere, High Enough adds an indie-pop-inspired sway reminiscent of Monkey Swallows The Universe, shuffling drums and piano chords accompanying a tale of the time lost to isolation so many lived through in the last two years, “we can’t get any younger, but we can get fat, and we can get drunk”. Although a record of subtle shifts, it’s not without its musical curve balls, whether it’s the finger-picked flourish of The Crying Kind, the Tracy Chapman-like Eiderdown or the strutting bounce of Don’t Come Back, a rarity in pop music of being a song about not wanting a former flame to come back, and sounding like you actually mean it. Youngest Daughter feels like a deeply human record, songs of lives being led, worlds of gut-wrenching heartache, mundane domesticity and the sometimes thin line between the two.

They Say…

Photo by Ben Morse

FTR: For those who don’t know who are Guise?

Guise is Jessica Guise writing songs and singing them with Laura Hanna, Titas Halder on bass and Keith Barry on drums. We started working together many years and have been and off and on entity for many years, but Jess has really put her foot on the pedal in the last few years. So in some ways we’re a new burgeoning band, despite years of playing together!

FTR: What can you remember about your first show?

Our first show was at an open mic in a fairy-light bedecked cafe in Bethnal Green. At that point I think we’d worked up two songs, so it was very brief, but felt like the beginning of something nonetheless.

FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?

Music and songs has always been the most important and powerful thing in my life, and it’s always been what I turn to when I feel anything powerful, good or bad. I think it’s the most immediate and powerful short cut to human connection and emotion. That said most of us also make other kinds of art too – myself, Laura and Titas have all been in theatre for ten years, but over the last few years I’ve finally found the courage to focus exclusively on music. For me it’s much scarier and more exposing, but therefore also much more rewarding, than any other art form I’ve tried.

FTR: What can people expect from the Guise live show?

We’re very friendly people, and I hope that’s the first thing that comes across – the shows are honest and open and sometimes pretty chatty. But there’s always, we hope, a song or two in there with the potential to make you cry.

FTR: What’s next for Guise?

A summer of folk festivals, mainly, which we can’t wait for. We’ve got Cambridge, Barking and Cottingham Folk festivals, Kendall Calling and Right to Roam Bolton, and more coming in. We’re just finishing up a UK tour with Will Varley and it’s been utterly magic to get back out in front of people, so we’re really looking forward to the first proper festival season in a few years, especially as our debut album is now out in the world!

They Listen To…

Dar Williams – As Cool As I Am

Titas and the Fox – I Miss You

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – Billowing Sea

Frank Turner – The Work

Youngest Daughter is out now via Xtra Mile Recordings. For more information on Guise visit

Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s