Jean Dawson's new album, CHAOS NOW* is an intriguing body of work. Full of angst and the guitar strums of a rockstar, the LP pulls from punk and indie. While it's an anarchic exploration of misery and substance abuse, it somehow manages to still sound dynamic and triumphant.
The sounds of the album drifts between acoustics, folk, indie and punk. The production often blends, incorporating multiple elements of different genres. The electric guitar throughout the album really helps to boost the angst in the emotions, often sounding like the soundtrack of a retro coming of age movie. 'HUH*' has a more menacing style of production but still manages to incorporate that wicked electric guitar that runs all the way through CHAOS NOW*. It's also noted that the vocal stacks on the album help give it shape, in the same respect that the instruments do.
While the features are few, they do speak for themselves. Isaiah Rashad's cadence on KIDS EAT PILLS* feels calming throughout until he switches up the tempo of his flow towards the end, speeding it up before it comes to an abrupt halt which really feels like it emulates taking drugs. BAD FRUIT* with Earl Sweatshirt is more of an acoustic moment, full of folk vibes. Earl's verse is vulnerable and heartfelt, peaking when his bars start to grind against the crescendo. George Clanton's outro on BLACK MICHAEL JACKSON* has prolonged vocals that submerge into the beat that washes a deep wave of nostalgia over the listener.
Jean Dawson's one to watch, that's for sure. The way he's able to mould punk into something fresh and new is fascinating. While the themes run deep, he's captured the essence of the racing thoughts and reoccuring feelings in his lyricism. Absolutely one of the most unique sounding records of the year, perfect if you're looking for something new to fire you up.
Written by Kat Friar :)