A bit of melancholy never hurt anybody. Too much… well that’s another story. While it might be the most prominent emotion evoked by Jay William Henderson‘s most recent full length; his sincerity in songwriting, intricate musicianship, and soothing vocal work make the album one of the most spellbinding listens of 2012.
Though indie-folk at its core, The Sun Will Burn Our Eyes features a smattering of soaring orchestral arrangements, elegantly performed backup vocals, and a plethora of instruments (just look at that extensive list at the bottom of the BC page). Thankfully, JWH doesn’t get bogged down trying to cram everything into each song, and reserves only certain instruments for just the right moments.
His light, slightly yelpy vocals help to tinge the album a certain characteristic color (a shade of Jay if you will), breathing that extra bit of life into the otherwise vibrant arrangements. And yes, while “Lonely Man” is ostensibly the most somber piece off of the 9-track beauty, it exhibits the peculiar ability to fill voids that you didn’t even know existed.
Like many of the artists featured on Bandcamp’s Best, the beauty of Jay‘s music sneaks up on you. It takes repeated, dedicated listens to get to know the plot line that he has so meticulously crafted, and to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of his introspective musings.
As much as you’d like to believe it’s the work of only one man (as the name suggests), the album was created by the hands of 15-plus musicians and engineers; all of whom were produced, recorded and mixed by Jay himself. Though it may not appear so, TSWBOE is a collective effort and deserves of a great deal of praise for its successful embrace of both decadence and humility.
Jay runs the recording/studio space Feral Frequency – for which I found a neat little write-up. It’s a non-profit venture aimed at getting musicians into a recording space without focusing too heavily on the monetary side of things. From the article – “(They’re) in the business of keeping dreams alive.”
Sounds like: Balto, Horse Feathers, David Bazan
Stand out tracks:
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/electronic/indie album
"Where Were We When" and download it for as many coconuts as you can spare.
Coconuts are delicious, though their milk tastes like pond water.