David Jacobson seems to have an endless reservoir of musical ideas and ingenuity. A couple of months ago we reviewed Escape From The Dungeon of Tears and Come Around Again!. He recently released an album called Still Waiting and an EP called Goodbye Dungeon of Tears. It’s obvious at this point that Jacobson has two distinct styles that he relies on for his releases.
Goodbye Dungeon of Tears EP is the follow up to Escape From The Dungeon of Tears and follows similar tendencies to the original. This lineage of material is somewhere in between Santana and Comets On Fire. It may or not be intentional that the recording is lo-fi giving off a 1970’s vibe. Throughout Goodbye Dungeon of Tears EP the star of the show is the lead guitar. He does do some singing but his vocals lay so low in the mix it ends up being a passive experience. I actually didn't even realize so much was going on lyrically until I clicked on the lyrics on his Bandcamp page.
The EP opens up with the psychedelic, hard rock meanderings of “The Weight Of Being.” It’s an effective rocker as he sings “Stare into the void, I see magical towers. They grow forth from the trees like some impossibly beautiful flowers. It all blossoms before my eyes. I call them to blossom before my eyes.”
“She Calls My Name” was the highlight of the four tracks as his vocals were a bit more present and I thoroughly enjoyed the cascading interplay between the guitars and bass. It contains an upward chaotic momentum and Jacobson sounded a bit like the lead singer of Band Of Horses on this one.
“Do You Remember?” is another solid track with plenty of lead guitar before closing with “The Ghosts of Ones Who've Loved Me”. There are a lot of things to enjoy about this EP but I think a 25% improvement in recording quality would go a long way. Jacobson has a great voice so it’s a shame I couldn't really make out what he was saying.
Still Waiting works in all the ways Goodbye Dungeon of Tears EP doesn't if only looking at the production aspect. Jacobson’s vocals along with guitar work steal the show on multiple occasions. Everything from the drums to the bass and guitars sit well in the mix and at this point proves to be Jacobson’s best accomplishment.
His songwriting is on point throughout the album. He starts off with the excellent “Getting Old; Getting Sad.” The song combines clean guitars, lead guitar and vocal harmonies to create an exuberant even festive vibe that contrasts with the somewhat gloomy lyrics. It revolves around a classic tale of a relationship gone bad and possibilities of the future ahead. Even if the outlook doesn't look so promising for that moment as Jacobson sings “Getting old, getting sad, and I'm moving on without you. With or without you, I'm going to find someone new.” the future feels promising.
“You Know Me” loosely plays with structure as he creates a psychedelic canvas for him to plea to his lover while “Because I Can” sounds like it was straight out of the 70’s. “Girl” was a very nice change of pace and made me scratch my head as to why Jacobson isn't doing more acoustic-based material. It really is some of his best work. The guitar picking is fantastic and the vocal line is just as good. His voice sounds just as good covered in melancholy as it does in exuberance.
The album closes with “We’re Still Waiting” which is arguably the catchiest tune on the album. It a rocking tune that will have you bobbing your head along in no time.
One of Jacobson’s biggest strengths is being able to effectively combine different emotional experiences such as melancholy, hope, guilt, etc. into a song. He does it successfully throughout Still Waiting, which may make it his most accomplished work to date.
Jacobson doesn't show any signs of slowing down soon and while there is still some room for improvement I am getting more impressed with his work as it evolves.
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