Songs of Sun and Moon by Jake Lennon isn’t an easy listen. It’s not because the songs are badly written or Lennon is a bad singer. The thing is the songs all revolve around Lennon's voice and piano, which mostly move at a snail's pace. Songs of Sun and Moon is a contemplative meditation on existence and there isn’t any comic relief to break the tension. Lennon has the same overly dramatic feel you have heard from Scott Walker, Antony Hegarty and Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu.
Songs of Sun and Moon was recorded with one mic. It sounds ok but definitely could have benefited from some separation and basic vocal techniques. The most perturbing part about the album is that it was in desperate need of a proper mastering job. I had to get up a number of times in order change the volume because some of the songs were noticeably louder than others.
The album starts off with “Speak With Me” where Lennon plays his piano in such a dramatic fashion that it is almost on par with his voice. Its chords are pretty basic but that’s not what these songs are about – they’re about the space in between. Lennon goes from sounding monotone and stoic as if the world's pain is too much to bear to a dynamic classical singer.
I’m pretty sure a couple of knights of templar members slit their wrists while listening to this song. He sings, “How many of us are there really? it's a concept too vague to grasp clearly they say living space dwindles yearly all I have's a strange distant feeling.” If you want to clear out a house party just pop this song on.
The other songs on Songs of Sun and Moon don’t deviate much from the first track. That being said, Lennon does have some varying degrees when it comes to his vocal performance. I give props to Lennon for attempting a different style that isn’t all that popular with the kids of today. He doesn't always hit it out of the park but on “Undisguised” comes pretty close. It’s just as painfully dark as the rest of the other songs but it also happens to have a good vocal melody.
Some of the songs are so overly dramatic and dark they become comical. One such occurrence is “What Can I Say?” Lines like “How long can you pretend and take from life like there's no end which doubt still offends beyond death what extends” can make you giggle when probably that was not intended.
I have to admire that Lennon is so unapologetic about what he is attempting to do. He goes at it full force and doesn't always succeed but occasionally finds some inspired moments.
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