CD REVIEW: The Strange Pull of What You Really Love by Watch Me Breathe

A follow-up to the Watch Me Breathe’s 2018 debut release titled The Lighter Side of Darkness, 2019’s The Strange Pull of What You Really Love finds multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jake Aaron Ward pushing his form of expression, writing music that he pulls from deep inside with the notion that nobody else is listening.

The Strange Pull of What You Really Love consists of nine tracks that mix facets of progressive rock with a hint of pop sensibility in the phrasing and catchy rhythms. Jake Aaron Ward’s proficiency as a songwriter makes each track on this CD resonate, as Ward delivers some heart-driven words that will touch listeners of all ages.

Ward happens to be a gifted multi-instrumentalist, his guitar rhythms and hooks soft and entrancing and his solos reflecting his influences, such as the reggae-rock reminiscent of the Police (the opener, “Pain,” is a good example), the progressive timing structures of Peter Gabriel (caught to good effect on “The Other Side,” a soulful track), and the experimental rocker vibes of the Goo-Goo Dolls (“Here and Now”). He’s also a strong vocalist, his phrasing almost hypnotizing and his croon hinting at facets of angst, sadness, and even a sense of hope. Ward also pays keen attention to his rhythm section, setting down some groove-laden bass notes and an the ensemble of percussive vibes on the drums.

Lyrically, Ward taps into the worries and interests of today’s youth, but he does so without pretension or a flare for the dramatic. One good example is the track “Nothing Else,” where he says, “Can we throw it all away? Can we leave this shallow place? Can we leave it all behind? And finally be alive? Cause I want to open the whole world with you/Into the ocean and hoping to find the truth/I want to drop all these costumes and characters, too/Can we just be ourselves? And nothing else?” Another powerful example is “Don’t Fade Away,” which captures the alienation so many young people grapple with daily. Says Ward, “Don’t fade away/Even if you feel alone and hate this place/Don’t fade away/It’s obvious to me you’re meant to stay/And you never have to be normal/You never have to change/You never have to conform in a world/Where everyone’s the same/And everything/s so boring/Yeah, life was just okay till you came/Please don’t fade away.”

Crafted entirely in Ward’s own California home studio down to the mixing and mastering of the final edit, The Strange Pull of What You Really Love is an intimate but accessible album that will touch deep souls and provide good music for those who like well-played and –performed progressive pop. Although he works on these albums alone, Ward brings together a power trio when on the road, with baby brother Carl Ward on drums and Ryan Green on bass.

Give this one a listen. You just may be pleasantly surprised.

Watch Me Breathe Video for “Here and Now”:

by Octavio Ramos Jr.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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