I have to admit, I’m a bit biased going into this review. As a longtime big fan of Paper Route, I’m always intrigued by what the members of the band have going on. I’m not usually led astray when I look for “projects by association.”
JT Daly, best known for being the frontman of Paper Route, has released one of those projects.
With no apparent music in the pipeline for Paper Route, could JT Daly be going the way of M83 recently and pump out ambient experimental music in place of alternative pop tunes? Songs For a Film is definitely a step in that direction.
Songs For a Film is a soundtrack at heart. And a dark one at that, if “The Main Event” is any indication. This is the sort of October musical narrative I have been looking for. Mysterious and vibey and cool. In a recent singles roundup I mentioned how an artist took me back to the mindset of being at a Thom Yorke concert—this album early on does the same for me.
Listening to this album takes me back in another way too. A few years ago I spent a week sick as can be in my parents’ house. Some music I found to be intensely therapeutic during that time. One of those albums was Forenn’s self-titled record, which put for a feeling similar to it’s album art—an ethereal journey through a forest, at dusk. Songs For A Film doesn’t carry the level of dark-hued serenity of Forenn. However, it brings me back to that mindset of going into something that will be different with high expectations and still being satisfied. The serenity still exists, but not without the occasional bout of anxiety to make sure you don’t take the peace for granted (see “The People’s Champ” for an example of what I mean). After the thrilling climax of “Blame Game,” the “Reprise” that follows is especially poignant, taking me into that place of serenity again.
The end of this album is very Hans Zimmer-esque with it’s poignant, drawn out piano chords. It reminds me a bit of the end of Inception. That scene. However, JT Daly is here to throw a few curveballs into the mix, because that’s what he does. This record is a welcomed chance to hear another side of Daly’s creativity.
If, like me, you’re ever in the mood to zone out to something new, pull out your smartphone, go to the streaming app of your choice, and play this album while you walk. It’s fall, which means you can squeeze in a 34 minute walk (the run time of the record) after dinner as it’s getting dark—the perfect setting.