For the most part I feel that younger generation has forgone melody in favor of clichéd raps and heavy rhythms. However I have discovered another melodic gem in the thicket, entitled “Ease Up”. This 5 track EP is by adult contemporary artist, Jay Elle, a New York City based singer, songwriter and guitarist. This recording is full of extremely pleasant, well written and nicely arranged music. It has all the elements of great writing, melody, outstanding groove, excellent recording and a whole bunch of subtle, musical beauty. Let’s say that this recording has rekindled hope in me that there really still are artists out there who know how to make great melodic music. The songs here are very memorable and are quite singable. There is something of a throwback feel to this piece, as Jay is an old school romantic at heart, and an unstoppable optimist.
By simply looking at the track listing and the song titles gives you a sense of what this album offers. These are songs about relationships – the romance, the love, the doubt and the problems et al. Jay Elle writes from the heart which is why I believe people will instantly connect with his songs.
These aren’t just words that Jay is singing; his tone and inflection show that he means each and every word. Through mellow, understated and organically driven soundscapes, the singer-songwriter shows us that if you feel lost, alone and sad, there’s one place where we all feel like we belong – being in love.
Love comes in many forms with its pros and cons, and Jay Elle has managed to combine quite a few aspects of love here. The EP opens with the title track, “Ease Up”, which will immediately remind you of vintage James Taylor. Jay has that same cool nonchalance in his singing style, as he gracefully picks out his notes on by one.
The easy going picked guitar in the background, lays down a comfortable and warm foundation along with the bouncy beat. It’s hard not to fall in love with the captivating melody. The song certainly makes a pretty strong case for how accomplished a songwriter and performer he can be.
“Take a Holiday” bleeds summertime atmosphere and each listen proves how well it would fit in next to a catchy Train pop-lullaby. The chord progression is simple and inoffensive, the melody and whistle infectious – the perfect combination for audiences who love to groove and sway in the sunset with a Margarita close at hand.
Jay Elle isn’t good at what he does – he’s great at it. And just to show that love is not all sunshine and rainbows, if we don’t pay attention to the little details, Jay drops a little warning note with “Needs Fixing”.
On “By The Blade”, Jay Elle dirties up the backdrop with a crunchier guitar and a more insistent beat, whipping up a mesmerizing groove. “Sickly Sweet” takes the true-blue pop and singer-songwriter formula and expanding on it in a way, less competent musicians fail to do in today’s world of watered-down songwriting and formulaic radio.
Regardless of the difference in style, this one has all charming melodic genius once found in Roxy Music’s more accessible tracks, and I couldn’t help but hear strains of Brian Ferry’s cunning crooning in Jay’s delivery.
Jay Elle has done a remarkable job with “Ease Up”, delighting listeners from start to finish. Each song is carefully crafted layer by layer and repeated listens will bring the stories to life and reveal their meanings even more. Jay’s latest effort is perfect for those cloudless summer days when it seems that nothing can go wrong. And probably, if you put this on, nothing will!
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