Route 500 – A Horizon Awaits
Jeff Buckley was an artist that took tremendous chances. Yes, many remember his great singing chops, melodramatic songwriting and an all too brief life. But, Buckley was downright confrontational in showcasing himself at his most vulnerable to crowds that only got bigger with each subsequent tour. I am told that oftentimes, in the days when he was not yet a known entity, those in attendance tended to wince at the start of the performances. By the resolve, however, most of the time, they were ready to marry, adopt or feed him.
Route 500 functions on a similar policy of truth, one that transcends most of what singer-songwriter types tend to provide ever since the handle became well-known. “A horizon awaits” is obviously sung in English and the words should be easy to understand for most. However, it is the vocal phrasing, the peaks and valleys of the performance, that tell the tale equally as well.
The comparison to Jeff Buckley is obvious. Yet, unlike many of his frequent imitators, Route 500 is up for doing a lot of the heavy lifting here. This is not a mere imitation of the superficial elements for which Buckley is remembered. Instead, it showcases the group’s willingness to jump headfirst into harsh, poorly charted territory.
Jake Elijah – Dark Night
There’s a point in every earnest songwriter’s career where they decide “You know what, more instruments would actually be nice.” Jake Elijah is at that point on his new single “Dark Night“, but he is pulling inspiration from some interesting, unexpected places.
While for other modern musicians dipping into the well of “retro music” means copping some Zeppelin riffs, or soul grooves, Elijah and producer Kevin Basko (Foxygen, Rubber Band Gun) tread on less stable territory.
“Dark Night” is a beautifully produced and orchestrated ode to a blissful, expansive soft-rock sound that existed for only a brief time during the 1970s. Todd Rundgren’s Wonderland-pop-rock may have been its most popular ambassador. 10CC and Al Stewart devised similarly wide-ranging pop-rock experiments.
Jake Elijah’s analogue recorded, home-brewed songwriting aims for the kind of sonic fidelity often lost in modern popular music and asks for your attention in return.