Sometimes there's no place like home, and for me, Jackson Davis' 701 EP has me feeling very at home. That probably has something to do with Davis being a fellow Chicagoan. Somehow within his experimental indie rock sound drenched in synth and electronic exploration is something that I relate to so deeply. His sound is its own category but it is one he has built for himself and sits on a firm foundation that somehow feels like it's been around forever. This music can withstand all two crappy seasons of weather we get here. It is timeless and pumped with honesty and hope. Hope is a big one here, you HAVE to have hope that our miserable winters will eventually end and the sun will return.
The first two tracks, "Same As You Wanted" and "Not So Easy" are very broad in their appeal and have this fabulous piano work stationed at the center. It keeps these songs very accessible and allows Davis to cast a wide net. "Interlude" gets a lot more jazzier and launches the listener into a more unknown territory or dimension. The piano remains, but this time instead of grounding, it sort of helps everything take off, especially in the moments you’re not hearing that piano it's almost like taking the sandbags out of a hot air balloon.
My favorite lyrics for this EP reside in track four "This Time Around" which is all about duplicity, indecisiveness and contradiction. It's also just an incredibly cool track that while low key is somehow very motivating. The final track is "Something Else" and this one keeps things very dreamy, hazy and the sort of tune that is dedicated to all the somedays and shoulda, coulda, woulda scenarios.
I wanna talk about Davis as a producer now as everything on this EP was done by his hand. This EP had a very delicate layer of nostalgic fuzz placed ever so carefully on top of everything and it worked like a charm. There are so many ways this kind of thing can go wrong, especially when you're not working in a studio environment. Davis managed to crack the code on this sort of treatment and keep that fuzz refreshing and crisp, not wonky and heavy. Another big plus, as I consider Davis an incredible lyricist, is I did not have to dig for his words. Despite all the synth and reverb and feedback, AND his signature fuzz, I could hear everything. No energy was wasted on these five songs. He managed to neatly tuck an entire vision into this short EP and it all landed so perfectly. For an album so fluid in concept and execution, there is a dignified tidiness and symmetry to it.
I am currently recovering from a double ear infection and I gotta say I am so happy this is the first new music I am hearing since my ability to hear has returned. Davis managed to nail everything I love about experiencing new music. This EP is good medicine.
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