JC Lane – Automatic – EP Review
Alrighty…technically, this EP is SO NEW, that it’s still pretty much under wraps for now. As far as I’ve been informed, outside of their producer, I’m the only dude out there that’s heard this stuff at the moment…though the savviest among us will have noticed JC Lane’s lead-single from the Automatic EP out there already, called “I Can’t Dance.” And then there’s the whole video-reaction thing to the single from your friendly neighborhood Spiderhands the YouTuber…because…well because of course…that dude seems to be everywhere right now, doin’ his thang. But you get the idea…other than a few select individuals and cutting edge music-fans out there, JC Lane’s tunes have been tightly secured under lock & key, armed guards, and a whole team of highly trained ninjas protecting them day & night currently…but that’s about to change real soon as far as I know. Secrets like this can’t stay secret for long.
SO NEW that in fact, I couldn’t even tell ya if there’s an official track listing yet! I’ve got four tracks here, miscellaneous dealer’s choice style…I could go alphabetically, but I did that earlier on this week in a different review and it was kinda boring…so I’m just gonna switch it up this time around and make this interesting for myself, and of course, hopefully you as well in the process. I’m going to go in the order that I felt revealed the strengths increased from start to finish in this set of songs…there’s some really great stuff on this EP. I’m actually excited to see if the final lineup of the official release will match the one I’ve got…all I can ever tell ya is what I hear & what my honest impression is…let’s see how this goes.
“Do What You Want.” Understand that, by JC’s own admission, we’re digging pretty much into the realm of “teenage Pop” – so when you hear the pepped-up energy and sing-along style hooks here in the chorus, it all makes sense when considering the style she’s going for. While this particular cut wasn’t half as much of my jam as tracks that come later on in this review, it’s still a track that’s on target when it comes to the sound JC’s specifically going for. And make no mistake…like…if you were a Ramones fan, this actually ain’t all that far removed…it’ll be found in a different genre at the end of the day, but you’ll hear the energy comes from a not-so-distant cousin when it comes to the overall sound. I’ll admit, the spark in how this song begins always gets me interested, every time…and I dig the fact that you can hear a lil’ bit of extra edge & attitude in this first cut I’m introducing ya to…at its core, “Do What You Want” borrows every bit as much from Punk as it does from Pop, and that’s always a recipe to catch some attention from listeners out there. JC has bold vocals and strong tone…and perhaps the best thing I can say here in support of “Do What You Want” is the fact that, even though I’ve got it listed here first in a set-list of songs that get progressively stronger…if this was all I had to go on, I’d still be jazzed about the way she’s performed here & the tightness of the band surrounding her. I haven’t let ya in on this part of the whole secret yet…it’s actually JC’s debut EP that we’re discussing here – and in considering that, I can tell ya wholeheartedly, it’s extremely rare to hear such confidence this early on into a new project. That’s gonna play a huge role in her success ahead…if she keeps bringing it this intensely to the mic, with the stellar voice she’s got – she’s already giving herself every possible shot at winning you over, 100%.
“I Can’t Dance” was an interesting cut all-around…and one that I think already proves there’s more to JC’s music than the bubblegum flavor associated with “teenage Pop” – I’m not knocking the genre, if that’s your jam then right on & have at it hoss…I’m simply saying that JC will reveal even more depth here within the strengths on display throughout this song, even with its ever-youthful spirit guiding it. According to what I’ve learned online, this particular cut features Luminal…I’m just not entirely sure which one lol…there’s a few bands out there rockin’ that moniker apparently – but credit where credit is due (kinda, at least?), you’re hearing Luminal as well as JC Lane on “I Can’t Dance.” Oddly enough, I felt like the other three cuts sparkled a bit more with the current production, but I’m hardly complaining – ultimately, things sound really good, and I can absolutely hear a riotous amount of universal appeal in a song like this. JC’s got a shiny new video to support it as well…which…well…we’ll be featuring that soon when it gets its official release – until then, I’ve at least got the audio for ya to jam for now below. Ultimately, I think it’s a solid choice…my main concern would be that the very beginning probably has just as much in common with the writing you find in modern-day Country…but let’s also be real, that’s essentially Pop music now anyway…but you get the idea. The best way I can put it is that there are songs you can hear are written for a specific design, and there are others where even if that’s still the case, it becomes more hidden underneath a sound that seems to be a more natural fit. So in this case, we’re talking about the difference between “I Can’t Dance” and the particular cut I’ve saved to talk about at the very end…that would be the difference I’m hearing between them. Doesn’t make one necessarily better than the other in terms of what will catch the people’s attention, it’s just a different kind of writing that produces different results is all. At the end of the day, I’d imagine there’s a great many people out there that are going to dig on the vibes of “I Can’t Dance” and the lyrics to this tune – and I’d readily confirm that when you hear JC in the thick of the hooks in this chorus here, she’s right on the money.
If there’s one thing that you can certainly infer from the lead-single appearing as the second on this list of songs here that progress in strength…well…that should tell ya something. If that’s the song JC’s willing to put out there as the gateway in, the fact that I’ve got two more cuts here I’d consider to be that much stronger, should definitely entice ya in. “Hey You, Romeo” felt like the breakthrough I was looking for from JC Lane…it is still as sparkly & shiny & bubbly as Pop/Rock can be yes, but there’s just enough of a hint of the Alt-edge to the vibes here that all of a sudden she’s become much more comparable to something like Echobelly at their best…and in my world, that’s pure awesomeness. I mean, I don’t even really know what else to tell ya at this point – “Hey You, Romeo” has THAT much appeal – either JC has won me over with her charm, or I just know what really, really good music is – I’ll let you be the judge…but just keep in mind, the official answer is actually BOTH. If every artist & band out there put as much passion into what they do pass or fail like JC Lane is doing here in going all-out for her debut…believe me when I say, this job of mine would be that much more wonderful. While it’s always a whole lot of fun to find spots of potential evolution and places to grow – it’s also extremely nice to have a break every once in a while, listen to a track like “Hey You, Romeo” and simply acknowledge that an artist like JC is well on her way down the right path she was clearly meant to be on. Personally, I think the most memorable hooks and biggest sing-along moments all occur right here in this song…and don’t think I’m immune by any measure – I’ve been singing “Hey You, Romeo” around the studio here for days now. My cat looks at me a little stranger now, but I’m comfortable with it. This is a very BIG song in every respect, and I absolutely LOVE it if I’m being truthful…writing-wise, JC reminds me a lot of what I loved in the ironically-titled Marvelous 3 record Hey! Album, or anything that Butch Walker tends to leave his songwriting stamp on…it’s like, the perfect mix of energy that could fill a stadium, inside of these perfect Pop/Rock hooks that stay with you forever – “Hey You, Romeo” will be with me for a very, very long time. Yes it’s a whole lot of FUN, and it’s essentially a love-song of sorts when examined close up – but the execution from concept to performance, is 100% amazing, full-stop.
So. Here we are. Song four in this unofficial makeshift lineup of the Automatic EP that I’ve assembled here during its pre-release stages. Two things can be, and are likely both true when it comes to this song. One being, it IS the strongest track of the four…in my opinion, it’s probably not even really a debate or an opinion at all, that’s more like facts…despite how much I really love the hooks of “Hey You, Romeo,” it’s a distant second to the level of depth in this last cut. The second thing would be, just because I’m saying it’s a better song doesn’t make it positioned to be a bigger hit – that’s not what I’m saying, though I’d readily acknowledge there is a SUPREME amount of single-worthy sound to be found in “Leave Me Alone” as well. Ultimately, I’d probably go to bat for “Hey You, Romeo” as being the biggest potential draw for the masses out there as a single…but for you songwriters out there and most dedicated music-fans…I’m tellin’ ya this last track is truly where it’s at – this is the track that holds up over time the longest and keeps us all coming back for more. There’s no question that “Leave Me Alone” becomes the most surprising song to find in the set…there’s that much of a difference between the vibes being created her in comparison to the rest – but LISTEN to how incredible of a job that JC does in singing this song will ya? Every time she hits the melody at the end of the verses with the word “disaster,” the reality becomes so far from it – she’s straight up magic at that moment; and then hearing her go on to absolutely CONQUER the chorus of this song with such an inspired performance afterwards? Please folks…this song is worth the price of admission all by itself! Love the intensity of the drums…absolutely love the powerful emotion that JC puts through the microphone…and all-in-all, I felt like this song reveals the true story the most – sure she’s capable of rockin’ the “teenage Pop” as she’s mentioned…but “Leave Me Alone” fully proves she’s more than ready to rock whatever genre that JC WANTS to. I know I tend to write & ramble a lot in these reviews, but this song really does bring on that helpless feeling of being speechless when trying to describe just how many things are going RIGHT for JC Lane on “Leave Me Alone” – this is where her potential & power are realized in-full. Flawless in every conceivable way, there’s not a thing I’d change about this song, and I’ll happily be turning this right up to the rafters for years & years to come – this song literally & audibly has it ALL. To me, it’s a strong indication of where we might see JC branch out to in the future to follow…because believe me when I say, there definitely IS a future to follow…now that she’s on her way, and THIS is what it sounds like – what on earth wouldn’t encourage her to keep going? A song like “Leave Me Alone” makes me massively excited about where she’ll take us with the music she’ll make in her career – this track to me, seems like the music she was born to make…fantastic contrasting emotions & truly sensory sound…I’d be taking a good long look at this track & how well suited it is to JC Lane’s style; this song is completely stellar.
All-around, it’s definitely a debut record to be proud of, stocked full of songs that surge with genuine passion, radiantly bold vocals, enormous energy & highly memorable moments, the entire way through.
Find out more about JC Lane from her page at Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/jclanemusicofficial
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