Jaye Jayle – No Trail and Other Unholy Paths

[Reviewed by stark]

Jaye Jayle’s mastermind is Evan Patterson who on the occasion of recording this album was helped by a couple of other musicians. But, it is him who is alpha and omega here. Not knowing his previous album, “House Cricks and Other Excuses to Get Out”, I was expecting some sort of dark americana, but without any clue whether it will be closer to the raw emotions of Steve von Till, something with a rock kick like Wovenhand, or perhaps some completely different stuff.

The third option turned out to be the correct one. Having this dark folk and southern gothic atmosphere as a ground basis, Jaye Jayle makes each song an individual entity, yet when put all together they form a taut and dense album.

The first one, “No Trail (Path One)” you may treat as an intro, it’s a jolly piano melody, which becomes covered by a reverb and morphs into a short ambient theme. But with the second track I realized that I deal with something uncommon. Yes, at first it may remind of the mentioned Steve Von Till, but with passing seconds the tension grows. Evan is joined by Emma Ruth Rundle and their vocal duels, along with the oppressive atmosphere, start to remind one of Cave’s “Murder Ballads” on crack. The press note mentions something about krautrock, and yeah, “Ode To Betsy” with the repetitive rhythmic parts and distorted bass (or synths? not sure) has something in common with that genre.

“Accepting” combines raw rhythms and charming guitar melodies with sax appearing at the end. Sax always gives a few extra points, at least in my scale. While “As Soon As Night” is again a piece with subtly growing strains and intense atmospheres. Another piece is my favourite one though, “Cemetery Rain” where the synths are playing the leading part. Also the vocal manner is changing here. Evan sings more delicately, sometimes on the verge of weeping. “Marry Me” is another highlight – again Evan is accompanied by Emma Ruth Rundle and this time I notice not so distant echoes of Swans in this highly overwhelming song.

The album’s grand finale is titled “Low Again Street” and what the hell is going on here. Distorted bass and noir-esque saxophone explode in the first minute only to disappear and leave place for dark blues guitars, drums and vocals. Sax shows up again in the last seconds of the album leaving me with a thirst for more.

“No Trail and Other Unholy Paths” is the proof that even with exploiting already known and liked musical solutions and genre attributes, you can still make something fresh and tasty. Recommended.

Jaye Jayle No Trail and Other Unholy Paths
Sargent House, SH194
CD/LP/Digital 2018

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