Bedlam Jackson is an indie-rock songwriter from Los Angeles. Jackson may seem to be armed with scarce equipment, given that he records and produces his work in a bedroom, but his behind-the-scenes experience with film soundtracks (Man of Steel and Interstellar) easily explains the large and complex layers of sound he has developed.
“Missing Pieces” is the first track on Jackson’s self-titled four-track EP Bedlam Jackson. A swirling, distorted guitar riff immediately bustles its way into the forefront of this track, dancing upon a faded electronic bass rhythm at the bottom of this well-mixed piece. Every second of this initial track is exhilarating and fueled by adrenaline, but the multi-tracked vocals are the cherry on top - delicate falsetto backs deep, melodic croons.
“Set You Off” explodes into another ricocheting guitar riff. Not aiming to simply reproduce the opener, however, Bedlam Jackson approaches the second song with heavier sensibilities in mind. Queens of the Stone Age influences abound, but I make that comparison only to highlight Jackson’s general sonic direction and not any excessively-obvious similarity. Much like Nine Inch Nails, Jackson employs electronica and rich melodies to transform what would be an otherwise-overdone style of alternative rock into something infectiously-groovy. Yet, it is his crisp and pop-worthy singing which offers something exciting to the chaotic music beneath.
“In The Night” takes a different approach again, unleashing Jackson’s inner electro-beast. Synth bass and organs resonate through every inch of this track, piercing the darkness surrounding his partially-whispering and damaged voice. Occasional bursts of guitar throughout the bridge and chorus add a grittier tone to the mix, whilst retaining Jackson’s favorite brand of funk-driven, dark, danceable madness.
“Broken Bone’’ demonstrates yet another stylistic shift. By the time the EP reaches this closer, Jackson’s voice has deteriorated into a whisper as brittle as the bones which he laments. Fleshed-out synths and softened piano notes dominate the verses, offering the most emotional and flesh-tingling experience of this four-track piece. “Broken Bones” is littered, again, with moments of intense guitar rhythms, organs, falsetto and deep, melodic, vocal grooves. Somehow, despite all of this, Jackson retains the original tender atmosphere. The closing glimpses of piano and whispers that “these broken bones won’t let me move” are simply stunning.
To summarize, Bedlam Jackson (EP) is an experience which invites both spine-tingles and involuntary dancing, sometimes all at once. In terms of improvement, I can only suggest Jackson continues to perfect his sound in order to stand out, but he is already well on track to greatness. The production, songwriting and performance on this self-titled EP are brilliant. I look forward to hearing more from this emerging talent.
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