Jake Allen - Etherica
Jake Allen is a musician who is very necessary in the 21st century music landscape in that he has learned from genre forefathers and taken the next evolutionary step, bridging a time-and-age gap to make traditional sounds relevant in the modern era.
In the case of ETHERICA, Allen begins with a base of singer-songwriter folk music, imbues a transcendental sense of self, and envelops it all in an uplifting, King's X meets Tears For Fears pop/rock package. Each song sets a mood for his musical autobiography. During the process, Allen also injects vintage progressive (there's a new oxymoron) and classic New Age (another one) elements into his songwriting, for while the instrumentation is very minimalistic, the vibe is entrancingly atmospheric. ETHERICA is like indie rock for the naturalist.
Through each track, Allen paints a Bob Ross-like musical landscape and plants you, the listener, right in the middle of it (leaning against a "happy little tree," if you will). He could very well be the guitar hero for anti-guitar heroes. He does not sugarcoat his melodies with fretboard gymnastics - each note is strummed or plucked into existence with distinct purpose. There are moments throughout ETHERICA where Allen's tranquil delivery borders on Peter Gabriel-esque metaphysicality, as though you are vacationing inside your own head.
And yet, there is enough of a rock edge to ground the experience in reality. Tracks like "Dinosaur" and "Indian Summer" allow Allen's rock roots to take over and express the bitter realism that infects our daily lives. But it is his near-tangible, ambient cuts like the self-explanatory "Autumnal" and the ‘picnic in Central Park' quality of the title track that will strike a chord with most listeners.
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