Jaye Jayle – No Trail And Other Unholy Paths

    For those unaware of the sinister, weird magnificence of David Lynch, his films and series are usually accompanied by equally strange yet wonderful music: edgy, dark, seductive, indulging the seedy side of Americana. Young Widows frontman Evan Patterson’s solo project Jaye Jayle fits this bill perfectly, its Dark Country-style jangle carrying a profound melancholy, and with sophomore album No Trail And Other Unholy Paths (Sargent House) being produced by Lynch’s musical adviser Dean Hurley, there’s an added resonance here.

    Opener ‘No Trail Path One’ is a loop of curious piano, dotted with a retro Electronica melody and swelling keyboard undercurrent which actually evokes Stranger Things rather than any Lynch-ian world. ‘…Path Two’, meanwhile, is Tom Waits-esque: Pattison’s dry, deep croon uttering stark lyrics above a hypnotic, dusty backdrop. The sparing chorus is pregnant with wounded desire, Emma Ruth Rundle’s first appearance haunting yet lightening the air, those twanging chords inducing the devil with the ghosts of Johnny Cash and Robert Johnson.

    ‘Ode To Betsy’ doesn’t buck this trend initially but the washboard rhythm, Todd Cook’s howling bass and occasional jagged chord add an element of steel to the template, while the mournful build of the second half brings unbelievable tension. The loop and piano intro of the slightly more uplifting ‘Accepting’ brings to mind mid-period Tori Amos, Pattison’s voice soaring to a chilled melody even while delivering the immortal line “If I had a Father I would tell him to fuck off”.


    And here’s the rub: despite any attempt at levity, any hooks in the music, the overwhelming air is one of a resigned, fatal recklessness sometimes at odds with the sound. ‘Accepting’s harmonic chime doesn’t disguise the bitter isolation, something the delicious, plaintive sax squeals to great effect. ‘As Soon As Night’ brings that electronic swell to howl over a suicide note, the darkness and tension almost unbearable as the track reaches its climax.

    Leadoff release ‘Cemetery Rain’ invokes some of Jon Crosby’s calmer VAST moments, Neal Argabright’s drums again building a wall without hitting crescendo. The gorgeous ‘Marry Us’, meanwhile, is another Rundle-graced, urgent lament to escape, to eventual Bonnie and Clyde oblivion. Closer ‘Low End Street’ sees more of that filthy sax ride above a fizzing bass and deliberate drums, the vocal now possessing a honeyed richness, an echoing lead flutter lighting up the fetid night.

    Although bereft of crashing noise ‘No Trail…’ is luscious, emotional, dirty, despairing, and brings a host of influences into a melting pot of diseased loneliness and hedonism the like of which Dorian Gray would revel in. Emotive, cold, utterly fantastic.




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