August 11, 2009

Jason Andre
The Phoenix and the Fish

Wilmington, NC
Recorded and mixed by Jason Andre

Crossroads are key for any serious musician, both musically and internally, and bridging musical ideas and meaningful lyrics is a crossroad unto itself. Jason Andre’s The Phoenix and the Fish is a multi-car pile up of music styles, instrumentation, sound effects, pure emotional honesty and the singer’s testimony to the power of religion in a person’s life. Andre finds himself here fervently on the album, showing an immense amount of growth from his first EP, Winter Dreams.

Andre slams a lot into 12 songs, from didgeridoo and banjo playing on “Quemao,” to handclaps and guitar playing at breakneck speed on “Down the River,” in which he sings “I’m going down the river / I’m going to find my one true love.” “Raised” punches as much as it praises, and Andre’s sinewy and guttural tones soar throughout along with djembe playing by Cheick Sissoko. “Broken Down” has a climbing guitar pattern much like Soundgarden’s “Seasons” and “The Meeting” utilizes hand-driven percussion with monotone layered vocals. “Defender” is an all-out drum assault, with four minutes of frenzied percussion. “Eloi” seems to capture passion perfectly as he states: “Idleness, apathy, are my hell here on earth.” Andre is a surfer, so there’s a strong correlation here between water and life. In addition, religion blankets the whole with lyrics strong on faith and hope. Imagine a far more tribal Jack Johnson, digging deeper into greater musical textures with doses of optimism and spiritual salutations. The record is filled with imagery drawn from ocean bodies and physical metaphors: seas rolling and unfurling, eyes pulled back. What’s fresh and surprising is that The Phoenix and the Fish doesn’t readily show its colors. It takes several spins to discover all its layers and without doubt, lends itself to a wide variety of listeners. (self-released)
-Brian Tucker

1 comment:

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