EP Review: Thoughts of an Adolescent in America

734558_10201764913954089_5227661677870869658_nTitle: Thoughts of an Adolescent in America

Artist: Jairus D. McLat

Genre: Folk

Produced by: Jacob Trombetta

Cover Art: Alan Thornburg

Release Date: 4/22/14

Many of you may have seen the name Jairus McLat around my blog a couple of times. If not, he’s a very talented local musician, who I had the pleasure of meeting last year at a friend’s album release.

He’s such a sweet, down-to-earth guy. I believe you would be hard pressed to find someone who dislikes him. When he asked me to review his EP, I couldn’t help but say yes.

Now on to the good stuff.

Review

The EP, “Thoughts of an Adolescent in America,” is composed of four songs.

  1. Greedy Love
  2. Ten
  3. Stars
  4. The Layman

Each song spans longer than four minutes and 30 seconds except “Ten” which stands a little below the 3 minute mark. They all have a slower pace that makes the word melancholy come to mind. It’s emotive, filled with the thoughts of a young man still trying to make sense of the tumbling emotions he’s faced with. It could be something seemingly simple like his feelings on working life (“The Layman”) or more complex like realizing you were selfish with a past love (“Greedy Love”).

Honestly, the first few times I heard this EP I wasn’t really digging it. It didn’t sound like the same Jairus I had heard a year ago. At least not the way I remembered him. I was so disheartened, but that all changed when I happened to play it in my car for one of my friends. I suddenly found myself enjoying it a lot more. Better speakers make a world of a difference.

Jairus’ voice reminds me of a blanket. It’s sweet and very soft which causes a bit of cognitive dissonance when you look at him. You don’t expected it, but it’s quite a nice surprise. It pairs well enough with the guitar-driven, slower songs that he writes.

He is a man who thinks a lot about his place in the world and his reason for existing.  I figured that out even before the “What does my living have to do for man?” line in “The Layman.” When asked where he drew his inspiration, Jairus said, ” At my age one is experiencing a lot of aberrations; everything is tangled up in my mind, I’m trying to slow it down and understand myself through the songs I write.” He goes on to say, “The short answer would be: the people I’ve known, the thoughts I’ve considered because of them, and the emotions they’ve made me feel.”

I noticed while listening to this EP, I would pick out favorite parts in each song. For example, Jairus’ guitar playing is always really nice to listen to,  but I especially enjoyed the beginning of “Ten.” There’s also a section of lyrics in “Stars” around the 1:00 mark that I really liked. And anytime a violin is added makes me dance with joy.

It’s hard for me to choose which song is my favorite. Both “The Layman” and “Greedy Love” feel a bit more polished lyrically than the other two which helps everything flow a lot better. I think the creative use of chains and the line “Everything is creeping until it’s past/trying oh so hard to make it last” in “The Layman” may edge it out as the winner for me.

One gripe I have is that every so often he accentuates the last syllable of the last word in a line.  For example, sometimes you’ll hear the emphasis on the “d” in mind which is a bit jarring for me in the middle of a song.

Overall, it’s a different sound than what I normally listen to but I like it. It’s grown on me. When he does put out a full-length album, it would be nice to hear a few songs with a faster pace that would bring a nice balance to the slower songs.

You can download Jairus’ EP here or listen to it (and some old work) on Soundcloud here.

As always, thanks for reading,

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