Jacob Burch = Maxwell + Jeff Buckley
Listening to Jake Burch’s new album I on a snowed-in, February day, I can’t help but be reminded of spring—his songs flutter out like butterflies. Burch gives you that blue-eyed soul that is easy on the ears and settles gently on the mind. He sings with a high falsetto that, at times, sounds like the tortured heart of Jeff Buckley and, at other times, leans toward the soft soul of Maxwell. I hate using comparisons, but I do get that Maxwell/Buckley vibe of love-sick folk and slow-groove soul.
Burch gives us everything but the kitchen sink on this wonderfully pleasant album. It all seems to work for him: chilly cool synth lines, well-paced drum machines: and icy, echoing guitar that move in and out of these songs—not to mention some soft piano and perfectly timed saxophone appearances. Saying this record is easy listening is unfair because easy listening can mean the barely listener pays attention—it’s noise just coming from a faraway speaker while you do other things. That’s not the case with I. When I listen to this record, I want to get absorbed in these songs—they just slowly consume me. Whether it’s the soaring slow brooding opening track “It Ain’t Love” or the emotionally “Stacked Hearts” that closes it, everything in between connects. “I want to fly so I can be free / Run away from everything / Let the dark side out of me / When she gave me everything,” Jake Burch sings on “I Want To Fly,” proving that his lyrics can hold up these wonderfully constructed songs.
Jake Burch created and recorded I in his own house. Scott Rakozy, Hannah Galliosborn, Sam Johnson, Riley Parsens, Michael Hofer, and Shaun Boulter all show up to contribute to this record. This album is a mix of sad songs, slow jams, subtle rain and sunshine. If I’m looking for a soundtrack for a Sunday morning, a lazy afternoon or winding down after a long day, Jake Burch can fill that void. –Russ Holsten