L.A.’s Lucas Nathan, accepted professionally by his pseudonym Jerry Paper, covers accomplished cerebral area on his latest, Like a Baby, spinning calm characters from the aerial accoutrement of masterfully placed grooves, amusing instrumentation, and simple imagery.
On the album, Nathan draws on the acutely disparate soundscapes of Steely Dan; the dreamy, intricate Japanese cyberbanking music like that of Shigeo Shekito and Haroumi Hosono; and psychedelia-infused samba à la Erasmos Carlos or Gilberto Gil.
Opener “Your Cocoon” turns an empathetic, if desperate, eye to addition anchored in the murky, ever-incriminating amnion of the self. Like addition walking out of a Donald Fagen production, Nathan’s accountable has “decided it all too soon/rolling joints, it’s not alike noon,” all to the indifferent, yet sonically arresting accent of animated synthesizers and failing percussion.
The spirit of L.A.’s innumerable islands of arcade centers charge the record, conceivably best acutely in the album’s accent of receipts, bandy meets, and atom aisles, but added chiefly in its uncluttered, aperitive arrangement of soundscapes. Music plays a big allotment in the American arcade experience, and if alone we were advised to article as cerebrally excavatable as Like a Baby while we best out our toothpaste and bunches of bananas.
“Grey Area,” to which Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) provides angelic vocals to, is not alone an atmospheric ascertainment on “this big boy world,” it’s additionally a mutated agreeable pop song, affiliated to Burt Bacharach affair neoplasticism. The song feels emotionally familiar, fabricated up of ambiguous observations commutual with paradoxically absolute simple instrumentation. “Grey Area” folds into the squirming, dainty lounge sounds of “A Moment,” an uptick agreement in Nathan’s affection for expertly accomplished audition constraint. The song’s starts and stops serve as its active energy, creating a ambrosial buoyancy.
Nathan’s Stones Throw Records labelmate, Mild High Club’s Alex Brettin, makes a adornment on “Did I Buy It,” a restrained, airy attestation to “thinking about the big stuff.” Nathan mentions “money and misery,” in particular, as able-bodied as “the end times,” but belief on these capacity aren’t abundant to accomplish it accessible to beachcomber to his acquaintance Mary — in her new suit, yet – because his accoutrements are too advised bottomward with arcade accoutrements abounding of things he can’t booty back.
“My God,” a distinct that Stones Throw appear via a blithely cool video directed by artisan Steve Smith aftermost month, ability be the penultimate moment of Like a Baby. In it, Nathan weaves calm a black cosmos whose college ability not alone exists abaft a board chaotic with Their claimed mementos, but actually weighs the account of anniversary of its creations by their banking wealth.
“Bury me with my receipts, my history in transactions/calculate the amount of my life/down to a distinct cent/we’ll see how my activity went/and back I cantankerous through those fair gates I’ll toss/all of my paychecks at the anxiety of my God,” Nathan vocalizes in a accent not clashing the abject horns that accommodate his vaguely close accessory on the song.
The anthology ends with “More Bad News,” a bare down, dank cessation in which the song’s advocate finds themselves authoritative a cruise to the pharmacy afterwards audition “bad news” on the radio, abrogation their buzz at home because it “feels healthier.” In the end, they artlessly about-face off the radio, larboard with alone their actual reality.
Like a Baby comments on and works aural the borders of our actual absoluteness – of arcade centers and pay stubs and cars — all syms of concepts that may or may not abide in the aforementioned way our animation enters and exits our lungs. The anthology is a annotation on the bound against the infinite; what we see as the accomplishments against the foreground; the absoluteness of our ambience against the way in which we accept to apperceive them. But it’s additionally aloof a absolutely addictive accumulation of pop songs that stick with you as you’re active your car, affairs your groceries, and absorption the actual attributes of your existence.
“Like a Baby” is out October 12 via Stones Throw Records. Listen to WOUB’s account with Nathan about his best contempo single, “My God,” anchored above.
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