by Sheri Boggs
Before this CD was even released, Jay's music was eliciting comparisons to folks like Beth Orton, Nick Drake and even Elliot Smith. And while he is wistful, introspective and alternative, his songs are a cheerier lot, with their lilting melodies and quietly pop arrangements. His debut, Draw, is filled with love songs that surf a bright sea of samples and loops. There is nothing challenging here, but neither is it a musical shipwreck.
"Let Your Shoulder Fall" is a nice start to the album, with its soft, British-y vocals of nerdy longing, and things really take off by the third track, "Only Meant to Say," which begins quietly, only to burst into little shimmers of pop. His voice is a distinct pleasure, with a bit of reedy burr to it. "Molasses" is an instrumental sketch breaking things up in the middle, giving Jay a chance to pair his acoustic guitar with a barrage of ghostly spaceship sounds. Finally, the harmonic riffs and gusty delivery of "The Clearing" are a refreshing change.
If there's anything weak about this album, it's probably his lyrics, which are reminiscent of mash notes, journal entries and guileless youth. Still, the earnest '70s singer/songwriter thing he's got going on is pretty sweet. His landscape of longing might not be as melancholy as you might want, but the sun falling on it is warm and welcome.