Lounge Act Jam – Everything I Cherish Easily Disintegrates Into Dust At The Lightest Touch – EP Review
Now THAT is a record title I can get behind. Think about it…not only does it sound cool, but if I can somehow put Everything I Cherish Easily Disintegrates Into Dust At The Lightest Touch EP in print like, three or four times, I figure this whole review will pretty much just write itself. Lemme put my feet up here…
If you’ve been rocking with us at our pages for the past couple years ago, or you’re among the most savvy of the scene, there’s a chance that you’ll remember the name Lounge Act Jam from back in 2019 when wrote up a couple reviews on records Diabolical, and I’m A Neon Sign, I Stay Open All The Time. This is one of those quirky names from the independent scene that personally, I’ll never forget – and here in 2021, I’m honestly no more well-versed in anything to do with Lounge Act Jam than I was a couple years back…I know I tend to like what I hear, but I know next to nothing about anything from behind the scenes as to what all goes into the music of this project, or really anything too much about the mysterious dude at the center of it all, Alan Yang. I’m starting to dial it in though…I mean, there’s no doubt he’s among the stranger of us on this planet – that much is crystal clear – but the rest is all bits & pieces & fragments that’ll lead you into a much bigger picture…like, did you know he was also rocking in反覆墜落 Repeatedive as well? Cause I didn’t until now…but that’s me…and here I am once again down the rabbit hole just trying to figure out what it is that makes this music of Lounge Act Jam and its creator of Yang tick, or what all might be involved here on this record. I can see a comment on Soundcloud that says: “All instruments are played by Rutadel except when noted” – and I’m like, great…now who on earth is that? Each question you try to get an answer for with LAJ seems to open the door to a new one.
All mysteries aside, I’m still 100% stoked to have Lounge Act Jam back in action, on our pages, and flowing through my speakers again here in 2021…I’ve always found something to like or love on every record I’ve heard so far, and more often than not, anything I find in LAJ is very far from anything typical. Personally, I dig that…and when “Dust (Intro)” began, it was like that hit of audible crack you missed so much & didn’t realize just how bad you needed your fix – it’s more than stellar, it’s an exceptionally great start and full of tangible uniqueness. There’s a single grunt to kick it off, otherwise, you’re set for an instrumental opening here – and you gotta love this combination of digital creativity & analog sound at work here; the mix is bang-on, the vibes are massively enticing…and subtle too…it’s not like Lounge Act Jam comes outta the gate punching you in the face with sound, so much as curiously invites you in. I’m all about it when it comes right down to it…I get it, there’s really not a lot to it by comparison to a few of these other tunes in this set-list, but the tightness of this groove, the perfection of the mix, the spectacular sound-selection and the whole song’s unassuming demeanor really stack up huge here at the start. You’ll experience cleverness through both technique & tone…all-in-all, “Dust (Intro)” flashes a whole bunch of serious chops on display without seeming to even acknowledge how insanely cool this really IS…far more than an intro if you ask me…like I said, I know there’s not a ton to it, but what there is for ya, has a killer groove that you’ll honestly never want to come to an end. I could loop this for days.
A track like “Ray Of Sunshine” really felt emblematic of my memories of Lounge Act Jam overall. The musicianship? Not necessarily perfect, but still highly engaging. The vocals? Probably best described in the same way. The ideas and end results? Somehow STILL addictive, almost directly despite all this. Lounge Act Jam is very much built on vibes…and I suppose when it comes to music in that respect, you either find your way into it, or you don’t…kinda simple as that really. You don’t really go into these tunes with the assumption that you’ll be in for the smoothest experience in sound – but perhaps the occasional perfect moment in time – you following me? Things don’t have to necessarily be flawless to achieve a so-called perfect moment…sometimes that’s just the nature of how things come out when they’re organic. All-in-all, there’s no doubt that “Ray Of Sunshine” is one of this record’s stronger ideas overall, it just needs a bit of a polish. No question that it’s over the ol’ red line here a bit, but you’d also have to assume this is something they know after the quality of the first cut, and that LAJ is making a stylistic choice & decision here. The question becomes, does or doesn’t it hurt the overall accessibility of this excellent set of ideas they’re working with here…and I suspect in this case, it might a little bit. There’s a smoothness that the people out there have become accustomed to hearing with a vibe like you’ll find here, and the raw edges of “Ray Of Sunshine” admittedly make it all the more tougher to love. That being said, ultimately, as far as the ideas on this EP go, “Ray Of Sunshine” is right up there with the very best you’ll find on this record, if not the most single-worthy tune of the bunch when it comes to its potential. Really just depends on what the goals are for Lounge Act Jam and whether they’re creating music for them, or for us; if it’s the latter, it needs that extra polish & care and probably an extra take or two in the studio to round out the corners…but at the end of the day, we’re talking about the tweaking of a few knobs back & force and maybe another run-through on the vocals to be safe – definitely easy issues for Lounge Act Jam to resolve if that’s what they wanna do, and easier to leave’em if they don’t!
A cut like “I Need U (Synth Version)” is also a song that reminds me I’m supposed to expect the unexpected when it comes to this project, and to throw all assumptions out the window. You never really know where LAJ will take you from one song to the next, and the quaint, playful, and odd mix of melancholy & soulful vibes on this track should confirm that to be factual for ya. A bit of noticeable spikes in the mix of the vocals similar to what popped up on “Ray Of Sunshine” – and with this being so different from so much of Lounge Act Jam, it’s almost like we wonder if they’re being entirely serious about “I Need U (Synth Version)” as they are with the rest, or if that playful vibe is an indication that this project is also playing a bit with US in the process…and I couldn’t tell ya for sure one way or the other. They might very well be…or they might be dead-serious…and we’ll never know…but regardless, you’ll probably find that “I Need U (Synth Version)” really ain’t all that bad of a tune, and it’s kinda sweet. It’s hella bizarre…but yeah…oddly enough, maybe it’s just the value of sincerity in sound or the fact that Lounge Act Jam sounds like they’re playing everything AND the kitchen sink in the background behind the organ-based melody…I dunno…it’s honestly about as hard to explain as words as a song can truly be. I’m pretty convinced this’ll be the cut that surprises the most people in the sense that, you might not realize just how much you’ll actually like or love this at first, but within a couple spins, you probably will.
“NCO” has a decent chance of grabbing a solid share of the attention with its break-beat leading the charge and putting a bit of added spark into the energy of the music here. Definitely an interesting track on the whole…it’s like Lounge Act Jam has gone and combined their signature Alt/Indie Lo-Fi sound with just about everything that was on popular radio from the early 90s, and then sauced right all over this with their own unbridled creativity as well for good measure. For the most part, the mix is pretty well on and the music stands out with serious personality & charisma…the vocals come out a bit heavy at that first verse with it probably approaching or exceeding the red line most likely, but they settle in pretty soon afterwards and suit this cut well with a mix of soulful, R&B/Indie-esque vocals that have plenty of endearing sound to’em. Plus, you get moments like around the 1:15 mark that’ll dazzle ya – the guitar parts there are awesome, straight up. ”NCO” definitely ain’t a bad tune at all…it’s got some juice to it, it’s got a standout hook & melody combo goin’ on, and LAJ is really tapping into some uniquely hybrid vibes that are bound to catch some attention here. The breakdown & the bring-back around the three-minute mark is where I’d be taking a huge look at the music of Lounge Act Jam and what can be accomplished in this project…you get two fake endings to this tune, but both give you another stellar dose of everything that seemed to be going right with just a hint of added flair to it too.
As the only dedicated instrumental cut outside of the opening introduction, “Everything Here Is Mechanical” ended up being one of my favorites, and full proof that LAJ is capable of creating cuts with a ton of personality on display through the music, just as much as it can through the microphone. With the vocals typically being fairly low-key for the majority of the music on this EP, you’ll feel the added spark of the instrumentation coming alive a bit more in this tune with the freedom of not having to worry about creating space extra space for a singer on this track. We’re puttin’ the emphasis on the Jam part of Lounge Act Jam when it comes to “Everything Here Is Mechanical,” but hellz yeah, this works, and indeed it DOES jam. For the most part, this cut is really an extended guitar solo overall…it’s loose in structure but tightly played, and played with passion & an adventurous spirit…no complaints from me. I find it highly interesting what singers will & won’t do when it comes to instrumental tunes…to me, “Everything Here Is Mechanical” would actually make for one of the more logical cuts to have had vocals on it, given the stoic & reliable nature of the rhythm in behind the lead-guitar…but no. What have I been tellin’ ya from the get-go here? You expect Lounge Act Jam to turn right, that’s guaranteed when they’re decide to go left instead…they’re as tough to predict with their structures as they are with their style…but like I also said here, I’m not complaining & I’ll take what I can get – this came out really well.
“So Numb” is easily, hands-down, one of my favorite tracks on this EP…but yep, it still needs a ton of work…a few of these tunes need a bit of real calming down to get’em reigned in behind the red-line. There is Lo-Fi my friends…and then there are tracks that simply need better production than they have – but those two things are not necessarily one & the same, so let’s be real here. What I won’t do, is lie to ya – I actually don’t mind it too much in the context of this particular song as much as I did when I noticed the same issue with “Ray Of Sunshine” earlier on; it kinda suits “So Numb” and I felt like you get where LAJ is going with it…but on the other side of the coin, it does become a lot tougher to appreciate on an individual level when it’s inside of a set of songs that don’t all adhere to this same standard. As in, sometimes the clarity is perfection and the volume & mix are right where they should be, and at others, LAJ is taking quite a few liberties with what the masses out there will readily absorb, giving their tunes a layer of distortion that shrouds the vibe a bit too much to make it accessible, you dig? What makes it harder to say when it shows up repeatedly in separate tracks, is whether or not it’s purposeful or intended, which I suspect it is…I’m just not entirely convinced it has the desired effect on the rest of us. In particular, if there’s any main issue on the record overall it’s the pure shock of hearing “So Numb” roar to life right after the well-produced instrumental beforehand that is clearly at a lower volume; on that first spin through this record, brace yourselves…because it’s a serious jolt that’ll have you reaching to your stereo to balance it out real quick & likely turn this last one down a bit to where the sound was only moments before on “Everything Here Is Mechanical.” There’s definitely something here that really works though…it plays like a demo, but it’s revealing some of the most unique ideas and combinations of style, sound, and ideas that you’ll find on this record, and absolutely the strongest hooks. I do think it’s likely overloaded in the mix to the point past getting itself an easy nod of public approval – but hellz YES I would encourage Lounge Act Jam to continue experimenting in this vein of sound they’re mining here…because somewhere in all this fog & haze, are the roots of ideas on “So Numb” that could go on to be verifiably mind-blowing once this project harnesses the real potential its continuously reveals to us.
Listen to more music by Lounge Act Jam at their official page at Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6LMiMCvGhfrEsJ0PRSofqr
Join the thousands of bands & artists reviewed at sleepingbagstudios by clicking here!