Review Summary: The Never Years showcases Jamie Long's promise in an entertaining manner and should prove to be taste of things to come.
If one could call Jamie Long's debut release anything, it would be intriguing. Seven tracks (including a remix by The Sound of Arrows) and twenty-seven minutes in length, The Never Years
is as intimate as it is unique. And considering its distinctness, the EP certainly makes for a captivating listen.
Given its relatively short run-time, The Never Years
is an impressively diverse collection of songs. While the entire release follows a relatively laidback motif, Long explores a variety of sounds; there's a catchy pop flare to some tracks, while others embrace more relaxing soundscapes or dance-like characteristics. The EP's highlight is "Pool House", a six minute piece that floats along on dreamy electronics. It's a multi-faceted track that incorporates several layers of music, including fuzzy sounding acoustic guitar tracks, driving synthesizers, a rhythmic ambience, and programmed drums to an impressive degree of effectiveness. Long's mumbled lyrics aren't particularly deep, but as he sings "Summer sounds were in the air / All I did was stare / In your blue eyes
", he captures the easygoing atmosphere exceedingly well.
"Monaco" carries on in a similar manner. Though still highly relaxing, the song is busier sounding and faster paced than the hazy opener. This sort of ambivalence is rather successful; while "Monaco" isn't quite as enjoyably laidback as "Pool House", it provides the backdrop for the more guitar centric pop of "See What Happens" and "Years" later on in the record. And it's an excellent song, by all rights. "Woods" marks a major atmospheric change in The Never Years
. Electronic layering is still used at irregular intervals, but the wistful textures have been substituted in favour of a catchy pop gleam.
Barring the fantastic "Pool House", which is among the coolest songs I've heard all year, The Never Years
probably won't blow listeners away. That said, Jamie Long has himself a very solid debut in the twenty-seven minute EP. Long's greatest strength throughout The Never Years
is his ability to bridge together memorable pop hooks and chilled out electronic music through excellent layering and production. The Never Years
isn't perfect, as portions of the EP's middle tracks can drag from time to time. However, these are minor kinks which can easily be ironed out as Long grows as a songwriter and musician. The Never Years
showcases Jamie Long's promise in a concise and entertaining manner and, if all goes well, should prove to be taste of things to come.