Lounge Act Jam – I’m A Neon Sign, I Stay Open All The Time – EP Review
Stoked to have this musical oddity back in the mix again so soon, it was just back in May this year that we first got a chance to hear Lounge Act Jam for the first time with the Diabolical record earlier in 2019. If anything, it definitely taught me to expect the unexpected when it came to the music being made by Alan Tzu-yu Yang, the mastermind behind what you’ll hear in Lounge Act Jam – he’s stocked full of diverse, creative, and highly-imaginative material; and clearly, he’s motivated to make some music right now. A shorter experience with I’m A Neon Sign, I Stay Open All The Time – he’s rockin’ an EP with this release – but that innate creativity & curious approach he brings to his sound is still 100% fully intact.
While I’d probably admit that I’m not quite as attached to this set as I was with the Diabolical album, there’s still plenty of reasons to spin this new EP from Lounge Act Jam. “The Sun Shines Over The River” starts the EP up on smooth grooves & solid ground – it’s labeled as ‘Loser Pop’ when you read the tag that comes with the song posting, and maybe that’s fair to a degree…I get what he’s saying, doesn’t mean I enjoy it any less. If this is what ‘Loser Pop’ sounds like, consider me a proud loser and willing to listen. Love the personality in the guitars here, love the pace & chillness in the vibe, and though I wasn’t immediately sold on the vocals at first, I found myself coming around on that issue quickly, resolving that through repeat spins and letting the bizarrely-beautiful vocal-hooks work their magic over time. Maybe a moment here & there on the mic or in the layers that could be polished up a lil’ bit I suppose. To a degree, you can tell Alan ain’t pushin’ himself too hard on this cut…he’s in chill-mode here for sure, keeping the beat straight & simple, the bass-lines smooth & sweet. The added chiming-in from the guitars was solid…same thing with the electro-elements in “The Sun Shines Over The River” – that all works well; vocally, maybe a moment or two here & there that could be polished, but no huge concern.
“Down (Not Enough)” also took a while to fully get into…it’s one seriously moody tune. That being said, it ends up becoming quite a remarkable moment in time that puts a solid degree of artistic design into the mix. From the early vocal shifts early on around the first minute, to the mix of haunting/droning melody Alan sings with, or big moments where you can feel the texture of the music surge to life around the two-minute mark – “Down (Not Enough)” certainly isn’t going to punch you in the face to get your attention quickly, but you’ll find there’s more than enough here when you really start to dig right in. Loving the way the guitars interact on the way into the third minute – LOVED the way he works-in and uses frequencies & feedback, chopped & sporadic notes on the guitars, and a whole bunch of controlled chaos towards the finale of this four-minute-plus tune, the longest cut by a significant amount of time on I’m A Neon Sign, I Stay Open All The Time – it’s a short ride through this latest EP by Lounge Act Jam. I have listened several times…and I still have zero idea of what Alan’s actually singing at all in this one – and nor did I feel like I needed to. Not in a bad way at all, I’m sure he’s got fantastic things to say to us all – but what I mean is, he’s transmitting a vibe here…a feeling…a mood – and that’s what you’ll pick up on. “Down (Not Enough)” blends heavy emotion & noteworthy creativity in the instrumentation; it’s the most verse/chorus-style song he’s got on this EP, or the closest to ‘normal’ in terms of structure – but make no mistake, Lounge Act Jam knows how to use the time perfectly through wild textures & tones.
“Sunday Morning Demons (Interlude)” fits right in to this strange set of four tunes on I’m A Neon Sign, I Stay Open All The Time. It also got me thinkin’ – what in the hell defines an interlude anyhow? Does that just mean ‘short song’ or ‘half an idea’ to most people – or is that just me? Because if that’s the case, Lounge Act Jam has three interludes on this EP and one full song by that measure. The truth is, if you’re into this cat’s inherent weirdness and penchant for odd melodies, then “Sunday Morning Demons (Interlude)” is no less of a full experience or less entertaining than any of these other short cuts in the set-list. A darker synth-led vibe and vocals that are heavily draped in reverb & effects – “Sunday Morning Demons” examines the realities of what the morning is like after a tight Saturday night; many of you have been there, be honest. As short as it might be – this track genuinely kicks a whole lot of ass, particularly in the way he’s designed the vocals flowing through this cut – I’d be looking at turning this interlude into a bigger tune for sure if I was Lounge Act Jam, there’s definitely potential to expand “Sunday Morning Demons (Interlude)” even further – and I’d definitely recommend Alan look into that.
Solid chance that “When The River Flows” is my favorite from this set of tunes – the instrumentation at the beginning is extremely badass and the way the song transitions is downright irresistible in its lo-fi charm. I give Alan credit for moving on at all when it comes to this tune – everything I thought I wanted to hear was immediately on display & I honestly didn’t factor in the possibility of it becoming any better. And maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t – we might all hear the main switch differently here on this final cut – but if you’re not digging on these searing & soaring tones from the guitar flying through the mix, the jazziness of the drums, the lo-fi charm of the buried vocals…then we’re coming from different planets as far as I’m concerned – Lounge Act Jam puts forth some really rad ideas in this last sonic burst. I can never decide which part of this song I love more…every time it came on, “When The River Flows” seemed to convince me that the beginning was the best part with the sparkling guitars echoing from left to right…then that smooth switch happens, and I’m like daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn that’s good…and then those guitar notes start ripping through the speakers in all-out glorious burst of colorful sound – maybe that’s the best part…or maybe it’s how Alan goes floating into the atmosphere with his melody on the mic in the hooks towards the end. I suppose the point is, Lounge Act Jam might have saved the most enticing audio-nugget for us all here at the end – “When The River Flows” is uniquely enchanting and retains its street-cred with its lo-fi approach – it ends I’m A Neon Sign, I Stay Open All The Time on a verifiable highlight in the EP’s set of songs and gives ya that renewed spark of desire to repeat this record.
Find more music from Lounge Act Jam at Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/lounge-act1998
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