You will no doubt remember our 2018 review of ‘See Me‘, the sublime single from New Jersey based punk rock band The Gray Vines. Fast forward 4 years and their lead singer, Jake Hoffman, is now performing solo under the name HOFFMAN, and his debut single, ‘Reflection’, is out now. ‘Reflection’ is the title track of HOFFMAN’s new album.
Jake Hoffman was undoubtedly the driving force behind The Gray Vines, and so it should come as no surprise that as HOFFMAN he is still a power to be reckoned with. Now he has no band behind him; all the songwriting and instrumentals are his and his alone. ‘Reflection’ is a stunning debut single, and has a very Gary Numan vibe about it, which should appeal to fans of his dystopian sound, as well as fans of The Gray Vines.
Life is a reflection on itself, and the song, ‘Reflection’ examines this idea. It’s a concept that’s been visited over the ages – from Doctor Who in ‘Turn Left’, to the film, ‘Sliding Doors’, and of course, ‘The Matrix’ series of films – we choose the red pill or the blue pill in every decision we make, but what might seem like a serendipitous event is in reality something that has been already determined by the decisions we’ve made. There’s a darker message in the lyrics too – “What I do affects you. What you do, affects me too.”
The bass guitar dominates with an almost sinister relentlessness, working in conjunction with the kick drum, driving the rhythm forward. HOFFMAN’s vocals are drawled and languid, like a world-weary watchman, sending a warning to us that we need to be aware of what decisions we make. It’s one that can be applied to more than just our lives as individuals – it’s a message to the world as a whole.
The music video for ‘Reflection’, with its message of “what goes around comes around” is in effect a visual illustration of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Everything – every event, every action, affects us eventually. In the clip we see that the very idea of this shakes HOFFMAN awake, as he lays on what seems to be a bench on a pier. A mysterious figure drops a card which when HOFFMAN picks it up reads that he has 2 minutes and 16 seconds – exactly the time left in the video. Although the card doesn’t say why, it is signed by “The Past”, so we presume the person who dropped it is a shadow – a reflection – of HOFFMAN himself.
Reflections continue to follow him wherever he goes, and HOFFMAN stays alert to where he is going and where he’s been. The countdown continues across a range of different greeting cards, and they are signed from “The Past”, “The Present”, and “The Future”. We won’t spoil the end for you – but you can watch the video for ‘Reflection’ below, and find HOFFMAN online on Instagram, and TikTok.