Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jeremy Jay - Review

Jeremy Jay – A Place where we could go (2008)
K Records

The idea of the outcast plays a big part in music. The idea of the lonesome weirdo writing out poetry and offbeat music is appealing. Thus we have characters like Jonathan Richman, Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes) and Jeffrey Lewis cropping up.

You could say that L.A. born and bred singer songwriter, Jeremy Jay is a descendent from this batch. After all he sings about being in love (the title track for starters) or he places girls on high pedestals ‘Beautiful Rebel’. ‘Hold me in your Arms Tonite’. But ironically there is some swagger in what he does so he’s no wimp. Neither does we want to be some smarty pants a la Morrissey. It’s definitely mood that he’s after.

Within this debut album’s brief 30 minutes, Jay takes the listener on a stroll through 50’s imagery, French pop, basically a time when things were innocent and simple. Furthermore, and this is more important, he manages to do this perfectly. None of these songs are drippy with sentimentality but they do convey feelings.

‘A Place where we could go’ was produced by Jay’s label boss and Beat Happening founder Calvin Johnson and, so naturally there is a sparse production. Every instrument breathes (and by that I mean big gulps of air) but it’s suits Jay and helps the poignancy of his lyrics stick out, and like Johnson’s most famous band, there is a coy dancebility lurking all throughout.

Some people may gripe about the album’s shortcomings, especially the no frills production or lack of energetic songs (in fact there’s only one here, the jaunty Escape to Aspen) but with many spins things to make sense and Jay’s romanticism unfolds, Personally I don’t find anything wrong with this stuff. It’s soulful, melodic, a bit humorous and contains oodles of charm. How can one find fault in these things. At the moment Jeremy Jay is the last of the great romantics and if you understand what his world consists of then you’ll be glad that he seduced you into it.

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