Jeremy Jay, Abandoned Apartments (out now, K Records, krecs.com)
In “Covered in Ivy,” California-born, London-based Jeremy Jay sings “Settle down/Hole up for the winter.” Based on the sense of isolation of Abandoned Apartments, it’s safe to say Jay has taken his own words to heart. His voice echoes slightly throughout each of the album’s 10 tracks, making it sound like he recorded it—his fifth full-length on K Records following 2011’s Dream Diary—alone in an empty room (an abandoned apartment, perhaps?) rather than a proper studio. Other lyrics, like “Footsteps in a darkened street/Colors fading fast” from opener “Sentimental Expressway,” add to the isolation. It’s not until the addition of guitar and percussion at the end of “Covered in Ivy,” the second track, that Abandoned Apartments’ sound begins to fill out. Yet Jay continues to express the lonely vibe through a variety of sounds, from “Sentimental Expressway” ’s dark synths to the bluesy “I Was Waiting” (which features a few bits of spoken word about carrying memories in bottles and having difficulties traveling to California) to “Far and Near,” with its groovy bass line. Abandoned Apartments has a much darker, goth tone than Jay’s previous releases, especially compared to Dream Diary. At times a few elements become muddled and obscure Jay’s lyrics, and there’s a rough quality to his vocals, almost as if he decided to use each first take no matter what. It’s not a bad choice; it just makes the album seem a little incomplete. Looking at his varied discography, it’s difficult to predict how Jay’s music will evolve, but judging by Abandoned Apartments, a darker sound has definitely become part of his repertoire.