Anchorage Alaska is a long way from anywhere, and its very isolation, as well as its long winters, and sheer beauty, work together for the good of artists such as Paul Jacks.
Although he has been with indie-pop band Smile Ease for 11 years, his solo efforts are on the slightly darker side, fitting for the nights, the time when he is able to write.
‘Laid To Rest’ comes from Jacks’ debut solo album, ‘Defractor’, and it is clear when you listen to it how much Jacks has been influenced by the likes of Gary Numan, David Bowie (particularly the Berlin period), and Joy Division, among others whose music stock in trade in the 70s and 80s was cloaked in synths.
There seems to be a rise in the retro synthy sound of late, and so far as this writer is concerned, there needs to be more of it. Contemporary bands such as Jaguar Dreams, Peppermint Heaven, and Zkeletonz make use of this sound quite often, and besides the nostalgic feeling that comes to those of us who are of a certain age, it’s an altogether pleasing and very appealing sound.
Lyrics such as
“Won’t you comfort me help me through this
Out of this moment comes projection to face your fears
Will hold my cold hand as it fades and it disappears”
sung in Jacks’ ethereal style, although somewhat macabre when you consider it’s the singer requesting to be comforted by a loved one until he can be laid to rest – presumably this is on his deathbed – nonetheless are made brighter by the bouncy synth accompaniment. It’s this style which calls to mind the music of The Smiths, another band whose morbid lyrics were juxtaposed against almost sparkly instrumentation.
‘Defractor’ will be available for a short vinyl run, as well as via all digital media. It’s the first release on Jacks’ Tritone Records imprint, and the label shall also be offering the back catalogue of his band, Smile Ease.