Jay Som

Everybody Works

Jay Som’s newest album, Everybody Works, follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, Turn Into, in expressionistic poise, dreaminess and bounce.

Everybody Works is bedroom dream pop in its fullest fine form. The album keeps intimacy close with songs that boast plenty of tempos to keep heads aloft and bodies in sway.

There’s “Remain,” whose slow tumbling drums open the song alongside a humming pulse before they’re joined by a wavering curlicue of chiming guitar and Duterte’s voice angelic and soothing, a semblance of Emily Haines or Hope Sandoval, singing in the moonlight.

The song builds with slow melodies, swirling around each other while growing, billowing into a summer-night’s dream, a purple-hued haze. As Duterte sings wistfully on the edge of the night, and the song’s lyrics, almost in full, say “I know, I know, We’re not turning back around, turning back around - Let go, Let go - There’s nothing up my sleeves, nothing up my sleeves - I know, I know, know, know, know - Our pinkie promises were never meant for this - I remain under the moon - Watching it move.”

Much of Jay Som’s music has the effect of hypnagogic pop, like the follow-up song to “Remain,” “1 Billion Dogs,” that comes in with an up-tempo blast of burly bass and scuzz-fuzz garage rock. Or the standout track “One More Time, Please,” a honeyed and soulfully funky number that meshes old-school grooves with modern-day dreamy atmospherics, making apt use of space and timing, and featuring an ’80s style guitar solo that’s given enough space to wander and weave and set a fire before putting it out.

So much of Jay Som’s music works well because it plays to a wide range of senses, emotional and somatic. Jay Som continues to make songs with hooks and melodies that are infectious and radiant and will float in your mind for days to come.

Published in Volume 72, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 7, 2017)

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