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Slow Dance

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Album Review

Slow Dance is a state of mind for Jeremy Jay, filled with possibilities and above all, dreams. Here, Jay offers a different kind of dream world than he did on his charming debut A Place Where We Could Go; though these songs are often steeped in glamour and loneliness, they also celebrate the joyful power of dancing and fantasies. Fittingly, the album's sound is more beat-driven and electronic; instead of A Place's soft-focus float, Slow Dance offers spun-sugar synth pop and darkly jangly rock. Sparkling synths contrast with Jay's moodily romantic vocals and lyrics on "We Were There"'s new new wave and the title track's elegant love song to the dancefloor, creating an intriguing tension. "We Were There," with its revved-up guitars and charging drums, may be the most driving song Jay has recorded (the chorus is "Hey, play that beat" for a reason). Slow Dance is more polished and clearly recorded than Jay's earlier work, and for many artists that would be a good thing, but that's not necessarily the case here. A lot of Jay's music is about suggesting and evoking, and the vintage warmth and otherworldly reverb that blanketed A Place Where We Could Go's dreams made them spellbinding; however, Slow Dance's sonic clarity sometimes feels like it works against the mystery of its songs. Strangely, it takes a little longer to appreciate the album's mystique because its sound is so direct, but eventually Slow Dance works its magic. As "Gallop" builds from an insistent beat, bassline, and fingersnaps into an expansive daydream ("sometimes we outrun monsters/sometimes we sparkle bright colors"), it shows once again how skilled Jay is at crafting a striking mood out of just a few elements. The album's second half returns to Jay's more familiar fantasy land of a late '50s/early '60s where it's equally keen to love teen idols and beat poets, and it sounds just as comforting and surreal as it did on Airwalker and A Place Where We Could Go, particularly on "Winter Wonder," which moves from hot chocolate by the fire to snowflake teardrops, and "Slow Dance 2," which is so fragile and spare it's almost uncomfortable. The closing track, "Where We Could Go Tonight," is half power ballad, half fairytale, as it conjures a world of angels with noble guitars roaming a night illuminated by a disco ball. Not every moment on Slow Dance is this transporting, but it still has its share of fascinating moments.


Born: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Jeremy Jay plays dreamy, stream-of-consciousness indie pop inspired by synth pop, '50s innocence, and above all, movies. His Dreamwalker EP was conceived as the soundtrack to a short film by the same name, starring Jay; St. Ives released it as a handmade, limited edition of 300 copies in May of 2007. That November, he returned with the Airwalker EP, his K Records debut; that December saw the release of the We Were There single. The Alpha Rhythm single and full-length album A Place Where We Could...
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Slow Dance, Jeremy Jay
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