Meet Paul Jacks, who a few moments ago dropped Defractor, his first album, on Tritone Records.
Jacks hangs his hat in Anchorage, located at the terminus of the Cook Inlet in Alaska. Frigid weather, along with active volcanoes, serves to make Anchorage strangely magnificent and precarious.
With a sound blending indie-pop, elements of new wave, and darker electronic flavors, Jacks’ music exudes a spectral ambience that’s delightfully and wickedly captivating. Jacks achieves his unique sound by commitment.
“I work a job that specifically allows me to work in the studio in waves,” he says. “I try to do something in the studio on a daily basis even if it’s just some lyric writing.”
Defractor encompasses eight tracks, starting with “Laid To Rest,” opening with droning tones flowing into topping shimmering colors within streaming wavelengths. Jacks’ light, scrumptious voice floats overhead with velvety sonority. The melody fuses new wave energy with ghostlike hues of electro-pop, like a combination of Howard Jones and Depeche Mode.
The best tracks on the album subsequent to “Laid To Rest” include “Lightning Lobotomy,” with its mechanical whispery synths accented with suffusing sylph-like pigments. Jacks’ voice takes on a dream-like tonality, as if singing at the heart of a rumor-filled illusory world. “Spy In Me” exudes capricious sparkling energy, a mix of new wave, electro-pop, and dance flavors. Surging bright colors emphasize the frothy vocals.
“Mr. Rollercoaster” merges booping, beeping synths with a tight, austere bass line into a skintight melody full of palely piercing colors. Reverberating vocal harmonies infuse the tune with layered timbres, like sotto voce ghosts. “Light Year Radio” is somehow reminiscent of early Snow Patrol, with tantalizing wisps of ethereal hues and creamy, smooth tones.
“My Heart Is A Book” opens with an ‘80s disco vibe seguing into textured new wave electro-pop washes of coloration. The glow of resonance exuding from the tune forms curling waves of sound. Wraithlike vocal tones, polished to a high sheen, imbue the tune with swooshing dynamism.
With Defractor, Paul Jacks delivers sonic auras designed to enchant by means of rippling, supple harmonics and butter-like vocals, soft, rich, and silky.