Such is the emphasis on instrumental prowess and technique in modern alternative rock, that when a release comes along that relies heavily on the vocal, it makes you sit up and listen. In this regard, Jon Car’s DREAM-119 is an outlier.
Car, who has recently signed to new label Affiant Records, holds much of the expression of Dream-119 in his vocal. Car’s voice is not only powerful, sharp and engaging, but also carries an impressive dexterity over the course of just five tracks.
Opener “Ready for War” shows this from the offset—the defiant track stories the narrator’s fight against internal struggle, marrying modern rock and pop stylings in a fight against depression.
Lead single “The Danger” nods to the late, great Chris Cornell with its rich and textured delivery. The interjection of a sumptuous riff makes this one of the album standouts and shows Car’s songwriting ability and instrumentation should not go unappreciated.
“Walk it Off” doesn’t quite hit the heights of the rest of the album, but “Wild Things” quickly reasserts Car’s cultured and catchy stylings. At his best, Car is creating cathartic and effortlessly melodic pop-rock that has the ability to move the audience with ease.
“Now & Forever” offers a distinct change of pace, with its folk-pop purr closing off DREAM-119. Whilst initial appraisal may deem it a strange addition to the EP, it’s hard to argue that Car doesn’t land another score with a delicately crafted show of vulnerability on the ballad, complementing the mainly adversity battling thematic of the rest of the EP.
DREAM-119 is an impressive debut from Jon Car. The confidence to build an EP around his ability to tell the story with a flicker of cadence change or subtle switch in tone should hold him in good stead moving forward, assuming he can hone a defined direction for his art.
Find out more about Jon Car here.