Jonathan Dumoff – EP review

Hailing from the same state that produced the Amish and An Albatross, Jonathan Dumoff offers up an extended play of seven songs; the whole thing functions within temporal dimensions of such brevity that the title of the last track, ‘It’s Over Now’, seems to serve notice of some sort.

This is simultaneously a good and bad thing. It’s good because there’s just no way this group of songs can overstay their welcome; it’s bad because if you like the music as much as I do, you don’t want it to be over so quickly.

While I’m not so well versed in the complex multiverse that is the great musical now as to be able to pinpoint specific influences, the generalities of the style are fairly obvious. It can be categorized as country rock with some folk influence; based on that description, you should begin to determine for yourself if you’ll want to give it a whirl. Even if it’s not your main thing, however, I would urge you to take a chance. The music is compelling.

When I say compelling, it’s not based on originality per se, but on the fact that Jonathan has the knack for storytelling that all good songwriters have. The emotive intent conveyed by the written is mirrored and reflected in the music itself. Check out ‘Madeline’, the third track. There’s a plaintive quality that comes through that is gently wrenching. The effect is heightened by the accompaniment, which is essentially slide guitar and snare, with what might be a tambourine on the hi-hat. But, the sparseness is what draws your attention, because all of the negative aural space is utterly saturated in emotion.

For examples of the more rocking side of things, check out the first and fourth tracks. Track four, ‘Past Tense’, utilizes a guitar hook as one of the structural underpinnings; the specific riff in question has a motivic quality to it that seems to comment on the vocals in a confirmatory way. Also, the drummer and bassist are locked-in-yet-still-loose, and the whole thing possesses a lot of energy.

All in all, a great collection of tunes that’s just way too short. I look forward to hearing more from this guy. Maybe he’ll play Tacoma.

By Paul Paradis

Paul is a musician, writer, and teacher living in Tacoma. When not engaged in the endless task of raising his six year old whirling dervish James Sparhawk, he spends his time creating music, pursuing a bachelor's, working out, and living. He is originally from the east coast: Worcester, Mass. born, and Providence, RI bred. Having traveled around some, the Pacific Northwest tends to feel more and more like home with each passing day, Very similar to New England in some ways, but different in a way that is refreshing. Rock on.

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