2011 has been a pretty dead year for music. We’ve went through the releases of countless artists in a variety of genres, from Christian to punk to metal and even classical, and very few acts really seem to shine. I contend that Jake Allen’s Etherica is one of a small number of titles that ultimately deserve repeated listens. Allen’s work, beginning with the disc’s first track “Ascension”, is of the timbre and quality that will immediately pique a listener’s interest. After he has ensnared a bevy of new fans, Allen can truly let his wings spread. The track has a little bit of electronic, traditional rock, emotive arrangements, and a properly-fitting length to explore every nook and cranny.
This six-plus minute track is masterfully crafted, with soaring guitar lines and dusky soundscapes impressing with scintillating takes on genres and overall sounds. “Like A Feather” is the next highwater mark for Allen; the track ebbs and flows, with pensive and quiet arrangements working perfectly alongside tempestuous outpourings of emotion. “Etherica” does not fail to impress during the twelve-track cycle; later efforts like “Fix Me Professor” and “The Ransom” are at least as strong as “Open Space” or “Dinosaur”. “Fix Me Professor” speeds things up, with absolutely sizzling guitar lines and jammy drums providing the lower end. What results is something that will appease fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as Muse or even The Appleseed Cast.
What results in this track is something that works no matter what music a listener fancies themselves; there are brief odes to orchestral 70s rock, 80s power-rock, 90s alternative, and current technically-based acts like Queens of the Stone Age. “The Ransom” takes listeners on an eight-minute journey that explores atmospheric sounds, brooding guitar lines, snappy drum work, and seemingly everything but the kitchen sink. However, Allen does not do this to clutter things up – everything has its place, turning “The Ransom” into one of the disc’s brightest stars. There is no easy way to categorize what Allen does with “Etherica”, so I would just say to check out his music at your first free moment.
Top Tracks: Open Space, Like A Feather
Jake Allen – Etherica / 2011 Dharma Records / 12 Tracks /