Like a diamond catching the light, Paul Jacks’ “Draw Upon” has a divine hue to its exquisite synthesized introduction that induces chills which last for the entirety of its running time and extend into the nine songs that accompany it in In Other Words, the highly-anticipated second album from this critically acclaimed multi-instrumentalist. Whether it be the brooding textures of this track, the haunting echo of “Do What You Will” or the glistening groove-driven melodies of “On the Tightrope,” In Other Words finds a way to connect with us on a deeper level than most indie records are capable of reaching, and although its tracklist is riddled with impressively complex compositions, to describe it as anything other than an accessible pop effort from a skilled songwriter would be wholly inaccurate.
There’s a very conceptual feel to all of the music that we hear on this latest release from Paul Jacks, and in some tracks like “Still Your Passenger,” “You’re Gonna Learn to Love Someday” and “In the Late Dark,” the mix reminds me a lot of the overindulgence of Loveless (in the best way possible). This is undeniably among the more multilayered LPs to see widespread release this summer, and though it might be a little too potent a cocktail for some fans to digest in a single sitting, most serious audiophiles will likely agree with me when I say that it’s a one of a kind listening experience which stokes as physical a reaction out of its audience as it does an emotional one.
Jacks wears his psychedelic influences on his sleeve in the charming “Kintsu,” existential title track, clubby “Too Emotional” and “Still Your Passenger,” but the modernity of the production style he utilizes in In Other Words never allows for the music to sound anything but original, relevant and very much a product of contemporary times. The high definition audio lets us feel the full scope of his artistry in this record, and while some critics might have wanted to hear a more stripped-down take on Jacks’ style of play in this follow-up to Defractor, personally I wouldn’t change anything about the way he framed this LP. It’s as immaculate as they come, and this could be the biggest reason why it’s garnering the praise that it is this season.
I had a lot of expectations prior to hearing In Other Words for the first time, but I’m pleased to confirm that it lives up to everything that I had wished for it to be. Minimalist pop has been slowly but surely becoming a force to be reckoned with in the American underground this year, but Paul Jacks is taking a completely different approach to this album and producing something that is monolithic, melodic, and most of all, mightily addictive even after a only a single spin. I highly recommend picking up In Other Wordsthis August 9th; thanks to its dynamo tracklist, I’m fairly certain that synthpop, post-punk, psychedelic and experimental rock fans won’t be dissatisfied with what they hear.