Jascha Ephraim – S/T (CD)

Looking at the cover of this album, I was thinking that the comparison to Chromeo was without merit but then “Get With My Girlfriend” challenges “Needy Girl” for the most time that the lead vocalist uses a pitch-bender. Not to say the track is bad, but exactly the opposite: “Get With My Girlfriend” is a mixture of The Rocket Summer, Cher, Elton John and Josh Wink, creating a pop-influenced track that will connect with listeners on so many levels. The pitch-shifter is removed for the following “It’s Raining Astronauts” but the sort of sexually driven R&B-pop that Chromeo is known for.

Everything on this album is cast with a loungey, early-eighties feel that recalls Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”. The slower tempo of “Hebrew Screw-Up” brings the track about a decade into the future and has vocals that recall at time Pet Shop Boys (their nineties rock) ,while still maintaining the eighties feel present at earlier points (the vocals elsewhere on the track really rival those put on “Little Red Corvette” by Prince. This may be one of the incredibly few individuals that can do everything on a disc – all the arrangements, instrumentation and vocals – and make tracks that continually sound different, surpassing individuals like Mizar who really paint themselves into a similar-sounding corner only a few tracks out of the gate. The only thing that really hurts this disc is the break through the fourth wall (in the sense that Jascha’s begin to break-down into spoken word during “Kitty Was Born To Die” and then moves into a purely vocal (but still instrumentally-backed) track in “Goldfish Euthanasia”. Finally moving back to a stronger set of vocals of “The Axe And The Arrow”, Jascha really surprises listeners when ey emotes eirself in a Ben Folds meets They Might Be Giants form of crooning.

Perhaps the most radio-friendly of this disc’s track comes in “Osiritron”. Jascha’s vocals really tread close to those of Elliot Sloan (Blessid Union of Souls). The moment of weakness that Jascha experiences in the middle of the disc is just a fuzzy memory by the time that “Chompers” finishes. “Chompers” is the one track that really brings forth the sound of the seventies, coupled with the eighties feel that dominate on this disc. This is the rare example that the press release actually does the artist disservice; the music contained on the disc far outstrips Har Mar Superstar and Peaches, and given a few more years, Jascha could conceivably even challenge Beck and Duran Duran.

Top Tracks: Out Humpin, Get With My Girlfriend

Rating: 7.0/10

Jascha Ephraim – S/T / 2004 Exotic / 17 Tracks / http://www.jaschaephraim.com / Reviewed 18 September 2005

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