Jay Som - Everybody Works - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Jay Som - Everybody Works

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:9 Release Date:2017-03-10

In 2015, Jay Som (Melina Duterte) released a collection of songs on Bandcamp, which was then picked up by two labels and re-released last year, the latter of which, Polyvinyl, signed her to a contract. The latest effort and label debut Everybody Works is more of her smart, deeply personal, oft-beautiful, and broad-based pop, infused with a wealth of non-traditional influences as well as the traditional dreampop ones.

With plenty of variety and excellent pacing, Everybody Works is ethereal yet grounded pop. “The Bus Song” is a perfect example as she pleads, “I just want you to need me.” “1 Billion Dogs” has a careening Breeders grunge vibe, and on the sexy, almost Prince-like “One More Time, Please,” she unleashes an unexpected and ripping solo at the end, just, well, because she can. “Baybee” achieves a sultry r’n’b feel and “(Bedhead)” successfully explores discordant melody. “Take It” is rather standard indie pop, but, as it does across the album, Duterte’s lovely, effortless voice takes the formulaic and makes it sublime.

The final cut is “For Light,” a piece that starts with airy ringing strings and a vocal turn that reminded me of Revolver-era Beatles. As she repeats the chorus over and over, the song begins building a multi-instrumental, hypnotic wave that crashes down before giving way to a gradual fading out of all the instruments until only the guitar remains, bringing the entire album back to the sparseness with which it began.

Jay Som is a DIY project headed by a 22 year-old with a ton of potential, much of which is already realized on this album. In the short, luminous opener “Lipstick Stains,” she invites the listener in, her voice barely above a whisper, with a sultry, crooning love note, “I like the way your lipstick stains the corner of my mouth. I pray you last awhile.” Yeah, me too, kiddo.

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