Now that the 2019 holidays are in the books, I was looking for the perfect antidote for the seasonal music poison that ran through my veins over the past few months. I needed to end this decade on something redeemable, enjoyable and worthy of headlining the past decade of some great musical finds. It’s always the Vintage Christmas playlist, my penultimate listening experience every year before entering the dark musical corridor between Christmas and the New Year. What will set my tone for the upcoming decade of listening? What will bridge the gap? What will I listen to between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1! Serendipitously, it’s an EP by alt/rock/folk artist, Jordan Paul.
His September 2019 release, Night Moon has been my go-to during this harrowing transition period. Night Moon is an EP of 3 incredibly well-written, well-crafted songs by this Ontario singer-songwriter. Jordan Paul is a songsmith and an extremely competent one at that. Paul winds his listeners through 3 tracks of hollow, word-centric, drums-forward, pop songs that rival any Crowded House successes, Wings mega hits, or Andrew Bird gems. Paul’s vocals are on-point, decade-spanning and maybe even timeless. His delivery is intriguing at times and lonely at others, playful here and solemn there. It’s the kind of vocal that commands attention but doesn’t draw unnecessary demands of its listeners.
The instrumentation on this EP is paramount. Guitars are almost non-existent but chosen wisely when they appear, it’s a bit refreshing. Instead, the opening track, Night Moon is replete with synth pads and other various electronica to support the track’s memorable chorus.
Jordan Paul’s vocals border post-Beatles McCartney to some Bee Gees tracks we can all stand. Its droning chord structure reveals an element of tension at the top of the EP that is slowly relieved as the collection progresses. These tracks all have something inherently special about each one, a difference between them that makes them all worthy of being stand-alone singles, whilst residing on the same collection; there are no “album cuts” here.
Night Moon (the EP) continues its journey with, Rain. A haunting, shadowy track that takes pride in not rushing its listeners, rather slowly collecting them along the way and assimilating them to its aura and meter. A chorus with only one word is a tricky one; it demands a melody so profound that you can divert the listeners’ attention away from usual crafty lyricism and replace with a musical statement. Rain is dirge-like in nature, I don’t think anyone dies here, but they could. It’s mournful, lamenting and introspective by nature. A jazz-like piano solo and a captivating, cascading counter-melody make Rain a definite stop for the discerning listener.
The EP quietly closes with, Gentle One, a samba-flavored acoustic number that was probably my fav on the EP. Gentle One is reminiscent of McCartney’s work in the early 90’s.
Jordan Paul is one of those creatives that can channel other artists without gross misconduct. He’s someone who knows this genre and can continue it successfully when its originators are long gone. This EP gets an extra gold star because it seems like a full-length album even though it only contains 3 tracks.
There’s enough songwriting prowess and stellar musical performance/production here that you uncover new levels with each new play; it never seems to grow old.
Jordan Paul, thanks for your artistic contribution, the world sounds better with your music in it.