Sunday, February 5, 2012
Jαy Gяαydoи - Aiяplαy Foя Tнε Plαиετ (1993/2002)
Remastered and ripped from CD.
Both a solo record and something of a musical continuation of a particular songwriting ideal, this wicked good release by guitarist/producer/engineer/songwriter Jαy Gяαydoи epitomizes the synth-guitar dominated style of Westcoast pop that came to prominence through the work of groups like Toto, DaBarge and guys like Al Jarreau. Still, times change and musical trends shift like tectonic plates: in light of that, this album in many ways felt like a farewell salute to a dying style when it originally hit shelves back in '93, and to this day remains a stunning example in the context of its style.
Although almost entirely programmed through synths, keyboards and drum machines (bar the excellent axework), there are some songs here which rank among the best you'd hear from an L.A. pop record, with my personal favorites being the bouncy Sherwood Ball fronted cuts ('Holdin' On To Love', 'One Way Or Another') and some of jazz vocal god Bill Cantos's best vocal performances in this particular genre with the snowbound sounding 'I Do' and the gorgeous key drivin' 'Ever After Love'. But these are merely personal gravitations in an entire set of strong songs: when taken as a whole, this is the best hi-tech Westcoast record ever put to posterity.
The sheer depth of positivity in these sonic fragements may be too sugary for some appetites, but the songwriting itself is atmospheric enough to where even the most insipid sounding sentiment doesn't really matter when you think about it. Thus, take things with a grain of salt and get lost in the haze of an era that'll probably never come back.