I remember a couple of years back reading that Alec Ounsworth from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah basically wrote all the parts to the songs on their debut. I was more than impressed that a songwriter would have the capacity to write so many parts with losing perspective of what they were doing. Furthermore leading to a finished product that was enjoyed by a good amount of people. The reason I mention this is because Jay Fry has the same rare abilities and they are displayed on his recent album Acquaintance.
Fry wrote the foundations to his songs on Acquaintance with an acoustic guitar and then he would go about strategically writing up chord charts, solo section, musical nuances, etc. and introduce them to the group that played with him on the recording. So what kind of music does Fry write? The answer isn't so simple because he explores genres like funk, rock and even jazz. He makes quite a few leaps on Acquaintance and does a decent job at making the album seem uniform. He certainly took his time crafting an album that delivers a number of good and occasionally great songs.
Fry starts with a rather funky song entitled “They Sayers,” which has more in common with Stevie Wonder than Daft Punk or The Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is old school funk with a very well thought out horn section. Well done Fry, well done. Fry explores a little more emotional depth and soul with “No Name” while “Mother’s Day” has some excellent very catchy lead guitar. It also has a bit of jam band mixed with math rock vibe going on. Phish meets Yes. “Good Time, Bad Night” was a highlight that featured some Dixieland type jazz. It’s a well-written song that you can snap your fingers to while drinking a refreshing lemonade.
There were a couple of songs on the album that didn't do much for me but still were well done. Overall, I think Fry should be very happy with Acquaintance. It’s accessible yet diverse, doesn't sound overproduced and is also a good album to listen to on almost any occasion.
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