Jaco “You Know” (LP)
Soaring into the skies on the strength of a glistening guitar melody, Jaco doesn’t waste any time laying into big grooves and exotic harmonies in “Your Way,” one of the eleven songs comprising his stunner of an album You Know. In this track, Jaco demonstrates a remarkable amount of vocal restraint whilst allowing the main riff to run wild with its provocative textures and tonality, but this isn’t the only occasion on which he’ll show us his ability to meld one conflicting element with another. You Know is all about aesthetical duality, and that just might be what sets it apart from all of the other records I’ve heard lately.
“Shoe,” the bluesy “Blackboard” and juggernaut “All Your Love” sport some really vintage guitar tones, but for as classic as these songs feel from an instrumental perspective, their lyrical content is anything but archaic. There’s nothing old school about the prose that Jaco uses in this album; contrarily, I would say that he goes out of his way to make even the most surreal of his verses embody a youthful, unfiltered honesty that tethers this content to the modernist movements of the late 2010s without dispute.
The swing is off the charts in “Say Goodbye,” “Reservoir,” and the grungy “Lavabo,” and while the poppy hooks tend to steal all of the spotlight away from the vocal in these songs, I wouldn’t go as far as to describe them as strictly radio fodder. There’s an experimental finish everywhere we look in You Know, and you could even make the argument that for every mainstream component we find in the compositions, there’s something left-field (like the brutally punkish riffing in “Lavabo” or the angsty rhythm of “Again”) to balance out the music and give it an unmistakably anti-establishment, DIY energy.
This master mix definitely lends to the physicality of tracks like “I Don’t Mind,” “For Myself” and “On the Ground,” and I think that were they not produced with as much focus on the bass tones in particular, none of these songs would have been as intensely engaging as they are in the state that we find them in here. Jaco is careful to make sure that they never spill into overindulgent territories, but by and large you would be hard—pressed to find another pop record with the raw, violent presence that this one so proudly possesses in every one of its tracks.
Regardless of what he does with this sound in forthcoming releases, Jaco has made a fine solo debut for himself in You Know that I’ve come to enjoy quite a bit in the last few weeks. I’m interested in seeing how he tackles his next record as a one-man act, but the framework of this LP is definitely strong enough for me to assume that it’s going to be an intriguing affair. He’s got a couple of rough edges that will need to be smoothed out if he wants to get the attention of mainstream audiences, but all in all I think he’s on the right path with this fun summer record.