I remember a few years ago when M83 released his album Junk, and the band appeared on Jimmy Kimmel to perform the songs “Do It, Try It!” and “Go.” While most people, myself included, were focused on Anthony Gonzalez’ 80s Teen Wolf get up, I couldn’t help but notice that dude slapping that bass in the background. That person was none other than Jordan Lawlor, otherwise known as J. Laser.
J. Laser has crafted an EP of 5 sonically unique yet cohesive ideas that fans of both the obvious M83 and Tame Impala will appreciate. The vocals are very Kevin Parker-esque. Indeed, “Sunshine” could very well be a b-side off Tame’s latest LP The Slow Rush.
J. Laser has a keen ability to apply the same strategy of synth flourishes off each track in a way that expresses a different feeling each time. In “Orpheus,” the feeling is one of angst and emphasis. In “Sunshine,” the feeling is one of being carefree. On my personal favorite “Waves and Blades,” the feeling is stormy. Actually, as I type this, I’m sitting on a cafe patio, well aware that there’s a huge storm on the way that will most likely force me to run to my car in short order. So, listening to this song feels highly appropriate right now! The follow up, “Blood Moon,” makes me think of the celestial and also the prophetic—the Book of Revelation mentions the moon turning blood red as a sign the heavens that will occur at the end of the age. So, the feeling here is both one of beauty and one that is foreboding. The EP closer “Saturn’s Return” is a gorgeous instrumental journey that reminds me a bit of M83’s DSVII release from last year. The analog synth is strong here and sounds like an organ—very nostalgic.
Throughout, J. Laser knows how to expand upon the synth foundations, whether it be with desperate vocals, a groovy beat, or atmospheric guitars. At times, I found the vocals to be a bit of an acquired taste, but it’s a familiar sound that I warmed up to pretty quickly.
Add this self titled EP to your 2020 soundtrack. You’ll find it fitting.