Jesse Aycock/Jesse Aycock/Horton Records
3.5 out of Five Stars
Tulsa Oklahoma’s Jesse Aycock is no slacker. A member of the super group of sorts, Hard Working Americans—where he shares stage and studio time with Todd Snider— he’s a valued additive within that exceptional ensemble. A multi-instrumentalist by trade, he’s naturally responsible for the majority of the sounds on his new eponymous effort. In total, it leaves a somewhat lofty impression, one that finds his soft-hued vocals and gilded melodies veering from the evocative (“Sadder Than a Sunset”) to the ethereal (“Woodland Park”). One song in particular, “Passing Days,” actually sounds like John Lennon in the realms of repose.
That’s not to say that Aycock doesn’t rock. Several songs—the propulsive album opener “Shed the Light,” the sturdy-sounding “High Hopes” and the loping “Under the Gun” provide the energy and enthusiasm needed to counter what often appears to be Aycock’s somewhat downcast disposition. Indeed, given the mellower musings shared in songs such as “Broken Rhymes,” “Show Animals” and “In Light,” it’s easy to get the impression that Aycock is simply content to find his footing with gentle drifting tempos that are both languid and lethargic in equal measure.
Still, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We live in a hurried world, and it’s often good to occasionally slow things down simply for the sake of appreciating the allure and enticement present in everyday circumstance that can pass without notice. Being a meditative individual, Aycock’s gentle pace often comes across as alluring and enticing. However, there are times when that quiet, contemplative aura can also be somewhat sleep-inducing. It’s likely he depends on his Hard Working Americans cohorts and colleagues to provide the counterbalance that keeps the energy intact.
Ultimately then, it’s best to simply relish these soothing sounds and appreciate the talents of an individual who’s clearly content to share his skills with other artists. That said, consider this particular effort more like his psychedelic sojourn.